Balance and the Brain
Balance is an extraordinary reflection of brain functionality – so much so that the NCAA® recently identified balance assessment as the third essential element of an effective concussion management program.
When is it safe for an athlete to return to play?
Pressure on injured athletes and the athletic trainers, managers and sports medicine practitioners who work with them can be significant, particularly when a head injury is involved. How can the injured player get back to performance condition quickly and safely? And what are the criteria for allowing a concussed player to return to his or her sport?
Current recommendations from the NCAA® and NATA® indicate that the best practices in concussion management rely on The Rule of Three:
- A symptoms checklist: Used immediately after the possibility of a concussion as well as in follow-up settings
- A neurocognitive assessment: Tests attention span, memory, response rates and more
- A Balance Assessment (Postural & Gaze Stability)
According to Jacob Resch, PhD, ATC, at the University of Texas Arlington, when delivered separately, each test possesses 60-80% sensitivity. When delivered together, sensitivity is greater than 90%.
NeuroCom balance assessment systems work in concert with any of the neurocognitive programs currently available, including: ImPACT™, Axon Sports CCAT, CNS Vital Signs™, CSMI SportsWare™ Concussion, Headminder™, SAC, and SCAT2.
Concussion management plans should be consistent with the Inter-Association Consensus: Diagnosis and Management of Sport-Related Concussion Guidelines – link here.
Learn about Orthopedic Injuries
Read about the Orthopedic Injury Patient Population