A retrospective review of baseline balance scores in college athletes

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ObjectiveThis study examines differences in baseline balance scores in order to establish normative data in college athletes, and also determine the potential effect of gender, sport, and concussion history on baseline performance.DesignRetrospective reviewSettingPre-participation evaluations of athletes at an American university.Participants961 varsity athletes, ages 17 to 21, both male and female from 2011 to 2015.Independent VariablesGender, sport, and history of prior concussions.Dependent VariableBaseline Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) scores.Main ResultsThe baseline BESS score for all athletes averaged 16.13 (range 2 to 40). Baseline BESS scores were significantly different in males (15.78) compared to females (16.84), with a difference of 1.056 (95% CI 0.233 to 1.890, P=0.013). Baseline scores averaged 17.40 in athletes with history of concussion compared to 16.45 in athletes with no prior concussion (CI 0.866 to 2.780, P=0.301). When comparing scores by sport, there were no significant differences in baseline scores between females who played field hockey, softball, volleyball, basketball, lacrosse, or soccer. There were no significant differences in baseline scores between males who played baseball, football, basketball, lacrosse, or soccer.ConclusionsWhen balance testing is used to assess an athlete after concussion injury, normative balance scores may be used in the absence of baseline scores. History of concussion and type of sport do not play a significant role in baseline balance assessment, however gender may alter the normative baseline data slightlyCompeting interestsNone.

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