Prediction of athletic concussion

Motor control is affected by many clinical conditions, including traumatic brain injury. Several studies have shown that athletic concussion is followed by substantial changes in the control of standing body sway. Researchers have suggested that quantitative data on body sway can be used as an aid to diagnosis of athletic concussion, and for monitoring of recovery.

We have taken a qualitatively different approach to relations between body sway and traumatic brain injury. We measure standing body sway *before* athletes are exposed to situations that may result in concussive or sub-concussive brain injury. Our focus has been on competitive boxing. Before boxers enter the ring, we measure their standing body sway. After the completion of boxing matches we evaluate symptoms that are associated with concussive and sub-concussive brain injury. In several studies, we have found that body sway differs between boxers who later report symptoms and those who do not. Our research suggests that 1) there may be individual differences in susceptibility to traumatic brain injury, and 2) these individual differences may be reflected in characteristic patterns of body sway that can be measured (objectively, and non-invasively) before individuals are exposed to situations that may induce traumatic brain injury. If so, then it may be possible to use data on body sway to screen individuals for eligibility to participate in certain sports. 


Chen, Y.-C., Tseng, T.-C., Hung, T.-H., & Stoffregen, T. A. (2014). Precursors of post-bout motion sickness in adolescent female boxers. Experimental Brain Research, DOI 10.1007/s00221-014-3910-4

Chen, Y.-C., Tseng, T.-C., Hung, T.-H., Hsieh, C. C., Chen, F.-C., & Stoffregen, T. A. (2013). Cognitive and postural precursors of motion sickness in adolescent boxers. Gait & Posture, 38, 795-799.

Chen, Y.-C., Hung, T.-H., Tseng, T.-C., Hsieh, C. C., Chen, F.-C., & Stoffregen, T. A. (2012). Pre-bout standing body sway differs between adult boxers who do and do not report post-bout motion sickness. PLOS ONE, 7(10): e46136. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046136.