First Advisor

Laurie A. King

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Public Health Studies: Pre-clinical Health Science and University Honors


Health Studies




Brain damage -- Research, Equilibrium (Physiology), Brain -- Concussion, Sports injuries




Balance deficits are common following mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and can persist beyond the standard recovery period. Advances in wearable technologies, such as inertial measurement units (IMUs), have increased utilization of instrumented balance assessments. There are limited studies providing normative ranges for the Balance Error Scoring System (mBESS) to characterize abnormalities in people with mTBI. This thesis provides balance ranges for athletes with acute mTBI and normative control populations completing the mBESS. Testing occurred at the university athletic facility or the Balance Disorders Laboratory at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and the Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System (VAPORHCS). Data from 102 healthy participants and 50 athletes with acute mTBI were collected. The primary outcome was the medio-lateral root-mean-square of sway (ML RMS Sway) in three mBESS stance conditions and the average ML RMS Sway of all conditions. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) evaluated differences between groups. Main effects were significant for ML RMS Sway for DS, SS, and the average across all conditions. Percentiles were provided to guide team physicians and athletic trainers in assessing instrumented balance in these populations. Limitations include not assessing sex differences in ML RMS Sway and not reporting more sway measures, such as RMS Sway in the anterior-posterior (A/P) direction. Future research should collect data for non-athlete groups with acute mTBI and assess sex differences and obtain other sway measures. Providing normative data allows team physicians and athletic trainers to better determine return-to-play (RTP) and recovery timelines following an mTBI.


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