Sensitivity of the Balance Error Scoring System and the Sensory Organization Test in the Combat Environment

F. Jay Haran, Jill C. Slaboda, Laurie King, W. Geoff Wright, Daniel Houlihan, Jacob N. Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the utility of the Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) and the Sensory Organization Test (SOT) as tools for the screening and monitoring of Service members (SMs) with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in a deployed setting during the acute and subacute phases of recovery. Patient records (N = 699) were reviewed for a cohort of SMs who sustained a blast-related mTBI while deployed to Afghanistan and were treated at the Concussion Restoration Care Center (CRCC) at Camp Leatherneck. On initial intake into the CRCC, participants completed two assessments of postural control, the BESS, and SOT. SMs with mTBI performed significantly worse on the BESS and SOT when compared with comparative samples. When the SOT data were further examined using sensory ratios, the results indicated that postural instability was primarily a result of vestibular and visual integration dysfunction (r > 0.62). The main finding of this study was that the sensitivity of the SOT composite score (50-58%) during the acute phase was higher than previous sensitivities found in the sports medicine literature for impact-related trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-711
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016



  • BESS
  • military
  • mTBI
  • SOT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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