Assessment of balance behaviour, eye-movement, and attention: A step towards a more comprehensive concussion return-to-play protocol


Concerns associated with head injuries have come to the forefront as head trauma events in the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Football League (NFL) bring to light the prevalence and effects of concussions. Accordingly, proper assessment and management of head injuries are growing areas of interest among the general public and researchers. At this point, most sports leagues and teams have established the need for concussion protocols and have set standards that must be met when an injury occurs or is suspected. In an effort to make assessments accessible to the general public, many tests are simplified to computer tests that require very little training or cost to administer. However, these assessment protocols are often not thorough enough to detect the various potential deficits and symptoms that can occur after a head injury. Of the various possible symptoms of a concussion, the highest testable deficits are balance dysfunction and dizziness. Further, most tests used to evaluate athletes comprehensively, are not ecologically relevant. The increased challenges athletes incur through their participation in sport in their everyday lives must be considered when developing baseline testing. The present research study aimed to aid in the correction of the previously mentioned inadequacies. A test-retest design used 4 instruments to evaluate 20 healthy individuals ranging in age from 17-25. The BESS, ANT, Wii Fit Balance Board, and Mobile Eye XG glasses were used to measure static and dynamic balance, attention, and gaze. The results indicate that the selected measures were stable and consistent with traditionally used protocols for healthy individuals. By analyzing the test-retest reliability of the Soccer Heading Game on the Wii Fit Balance Board while wearing an eye-tracking device, a more ecologically relevant and comprehensive test is available to assess an athlete's balance

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This paper was published in IslandScholar.

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