Peripheral Vestibular and Balance Function in Athletes With and Without Concussion

Academic Article


  • Background and Purpose: According to the most recent consensus statement on management of sport-related concussion (SRC), athletes with suspected SRC should receive a comprehensive neurological examination. However, which measures to include in such an examination are not defined. Our objectives were to (1) evaluate test-retest reliability and normative data on vestibular and balance tests in athletes without SRC; (2) compare athletes with and without SRC on the subtests; and (3) identify subtests for concussion testing protocols. Methods: Healthy athletes (n = 87, mean age 20.6 years; standard deviation = 1.8 years; 39 female and 48 male) and athletes with SRC (n = 28, mean age 20.7 years; standard deviation = 1.9 years; 11 female and 17 male) were tested using rotary chair, cervical vestibular-evoked myogenic potential (c-VEMP), and the Sensory Organization Test (SOT). A subset (n = 43) were tested twice. We analyzed reliability of the tests, and compared results between athletes with and without SRC. Results: Reliability ranged from poor to strong. There was no significant difference between athletes with and without SRC for tests of peripheral vestibular function (ie, rotary chair and c-VEMP). Athletes with SRC had significantly worse scores (P < 0.05) on vestibular-ocular reflex (VOR) cancellation gain, subjective visual vertical and horizontal variance, and all conditions of the SOT. Discussion and Conclusion: SRC did not affect medium frequency VOR or saccular function. SRC did affect the ability to use vestibular inputs for perception of vertical and postural control, as well as ability to cancel the VOR. Video Abstract available for more insights from the authors (see Supplemental Digital Content 1, available at:
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 23613771
  • Author List

  • Christy JB; Cochrane GD; Almutairi A; Busettini C; Swanson MW; Weise KK
  • Start Page

  • 153
  • End Page

  • 159
  • Volume

  • 43
  • Issue

  • 3