College of Health Sciences


Ph.D. Kinesiology and Rehabilitation - School of Rehabilitation Sciences

Publication Date

Spring 2020




Postural instability is among the most common symptoms associated with concussion. However, clinical screenings for concussion are heavily reliant on self-reports of cognitive symptoms such as nausea and headache to determine if a full recovery has been achieved. The objective of this study was to determine if impairments of postural stability that are associated with the acute stages of concussion persist beyond the current clinical standards for determination of recovery from concussion. Fifty-four healthy participants were recruited for the study and divided based on whether they reported having no history of concussion (n = 27) or whether they had been previously diagnosed with one or more concussions (n = 27). Individuals reporting a history of concussion averaged 2.26 (± 1.40) diagnoses and 6.91 (± 5.67) years since their most recent injury. Postural stability was assessed by having all participants stand on a force plate in order to track the center-of-pressure of their standing sway on both one and two legs, and under a single and dual-task condition implemented in the form of a concurrent cognitive task. Results revealed that individuals with a prior history of concussion exhibited greater postural sway displacement in the anterior-posterior (AP) plane (p = 0.033) as well as greater elliptical area of sway (p = 0.01) and reductions in sway regularity (p = 0.008) under dual-task conditions compared to individuals reporting no history of concussion. These findings indicate that balance impairments associated with concussion persist well beyond the resolution of cognitive symptoms. In particular, the results suggest that damage to neural tissue sustained from a concussion can impair an individual’s ability to allocate attention to multiple tasks at once and that these deficits can remain for years following the initial injury.


Postural instability, Attention allocation, Concussions, Cognitive symptoms, Balance assessment


Exercise Science | Kinesiotherapy



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Effects of Increased Attention Allocation on Postural Stability Related to History of Concussion