You are here

Challenging Concussed Athletes: The Future of Balance Assessment in Concussion


William Johnston, Garrett Coughlan, Brian Caulfield

Publication Type: 
Refereed Original Article
The assessment and management of sports-related concussion has become a contentious issue in the field of sports medicine. The current consensus in concussion evaluation involves the use of a subjective examination, supported by multifactorial assessment batteries designed to target the various components of cerebral function. Balance assessment forms an important component of this multifactorial assessment, as it can provide an insight into the function of the sensorimotor subsystems post-concussion. In recent times, there has been a call to develop objective clinical assessments that can aid in the assessment and monitoring of concussion. However, traditional static balance assessments are derived from neurologically impaired populations, are subjective in nature, do not adequately challenge high functioning athletes and may not be capable of detecting subtle balance disturbances following a concussive event. In this review, we provide an overview of the importance of assessing motor function following a concussion, and the challenges facing clinicians in its assessment and monitoring. Additionally, we discuss the limitations of the current clinical methods employed in balance assessment, the role of technology in improving the objectivity of traditional assessments, and the potential role inexpensive portable technology may play in providing objective measures of more challenging dynamic tasks.
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): 
Publication Status: 
Date Accepted for Publication: 
Thursday, 26 January, 2017
Publication Date: 
Quarterly Journal of Medicine
Research Group: 
National University of Ireland, Dublin (UCD)
Open access repository: