Instrumenting the balance error scoring system for use with patients reporting persistent balance problems after mild traumatic brain injury

Laurie A. King, Fay B. Horak, Martina Mancini, Donald Pierce, Kelsey C. Priest, James Chesnutt, Patrick Sullivan, Julie C. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Objective To determine whether alterations to the Balance Error Scoring System (BESS), such as modified conditions and/or instrumentation, would improve the ability to correctly classify traumatic brain injury (TBI) status in patients with mild TBI with persistent self-reported balance complaints. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting Outpatient clinic. Participants Subjects (n=13; age, 16.3±2y) with a recent history of concussion (mild TBI group) and demographically matched control subjects (n=13; age, 16.7±2y; control group). Interventions Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures Outcome measures included the BESS, modified BESS, instrumented BESS, and instrumented modified BESS. All subjects were tested on the noninstrumented BESS and modified BESS and were scored by visual observation of instability in 6 and 3 stance conditions, respectively. Instrumentation of these 2 tests used 1 inertial sensor with an accelerometer and gyroscope to quantify bidirectional body sway. Results Scores from the BESS and the modified BESS tests were similar between groups. However, results from the instrumented measures using the inertial sensor were significantly different between groups. The instrumented modified BESS had superior diagnostic classification and the largest area under the curve when compared with the other balance measures. Conclusions A concussion may disrupt the sensory processing required for optimal postural control, which was measured by sway during quiet stance. These results suggest that the use of portable inertial sensors may be useful in the move toward more objective and sensitive measures of balance control postconcussion, but more work is needed to increase sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-359
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Brain concussion
  • Brain injuries
  • Postural balance
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Instrumenting the balance error scoring system for use with patients reporting persistent balance problems after mild traumatic brain injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this