*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MedicalXpress.
As professional football approaches the July start of training camps and prep and college football programs look toward their fall seasons, new research from Florida Tech into concussions among student-athletes may have found a better way to understand the severity of these head injuries: balance tests.
In “Change in Balance Performance Predicts Neurocognitive Dysfunction and Symptom Endorsement in Concussed College Athletes,” published in the Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, Florida Tech Ph.D. students Andrew DaCosta and Andrew Crane, former Florida Tech psychology professor Frank Webbe, and university psychology associate professor Anthony LoGalbo explored the change in balance performance in relation to neurocognitive functioning or symptom endorsement among student-athletes referred for possible concussions.
The researchers found that individuals who normally have great balance but demonstrate a notable decline in balance and report balance problems exhibited poorer post-concussion neurocognitive performance, potentially suggesting a more acute injury.
Additionally, the research, which involved 68 student-athletes from multiple sports including lacrosse, football, soccer, and basketball, highlighted the importance of conducting pre-season or early baseline balance tests to better illuminate any changes that may appear in post-concussion testing.