Sensor-Based Balance Measures Outperform Modified Balance Error Scoring System in Identifying Acute Concussion

Laurie King, Martina Mancini, Peter C. Fino, James Chesnutt, Clayton W. Swanson, Sheila Markwardt, Julie C. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Balance assessment is an integral component of concussion evaluation and management. Although the modified balance error scoring system (mBESS) is the conventional clinical tool, objective metrics derived from wearable inertial sensors during the mBESS may increase sensitivity in detecting subtle balance deficits post-concussion. The aim of this study was to identify which stance condition and postural sway metrics obtained from an inertial sensor placed on the lumbar spine during the mBESS best discriminate athletes with acute concussion. Fifty-two college athletes in the acute phase of concussion and seventy-six controls participated in this study. Inertial sensor-based measures objectively detected group differences in the acutely concussed group of athletes while the clinical mBESS did not (p < 0.001 and p = 0.06, respectively). Mediolateral postural sway during the simplest condition of the mBESS (double stance) best classified those with acute concussion. Inertial sensors provided a sensitive and objective measure of balance in acute concussion. These results may be developed into practical guidelines to improve and simplify postural sway analysis post-concussion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
StateAccepted/In press - May 24 2017


  • Balance
  • BESS
  • Brain injury
  • Concussion
  • Inertial sensors
  • mTBI
  • Postural sway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

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