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Research - Concussion

Sports Concussion

AIS Concussion Study

  • Do you play sport?
  • Are you aged 18-35?

Take the online survey.

The AIS is examining the nature of sports concussion in Australian sports participants. This study aims to investigate different aspects of concussion in Australian sport.

We invite you to participate in our online survey which could help provide new insights into sports concussion in Australia. This knowledge will be used to develop programs for the prevention of injury in sport and physical activity.

We are also interested in testing healthy and recently concussed athletes. If you would like to participate in a range of tests relating to concussion and balance please contact us on 02 6214 1578 or by email.

For more information please see below or email us.

Aim of the study

The aim of this research study is to investigate that nature of concussion in Australian sport and the role of balance in concussion assessment.

Study summary

Concussion is a complex injury and is a public health concern in Australia, with rates increasing, and raised awareness of potential short and long term consequences that may be correlated with the condition. It presents a challenge for physicians involved in assessing and managing the condition due to the lack of objective assessment measures and the absence of a single diagnostic test. Improving methods of diagnosis and monitoring are considered important to best managing the condition.

Balance involves input from three systems – visual, vestibular and proprioceptive. Balance has been shown to be affected by concussion and its testing forms one part of the assessment of a suspected concussion. The international consensus guidelines recommend the use of the modified balance error scoring system as the assessment tool of choice for this purpose and it makes up one part of the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 3 (SCAT 3). This assessment tool has a number of potential limitations and in order to improve diagnosis and monitoring of recovery we will examine this in healthy and concussed athletes in comparison to a series of other balance and proprioceptive measures. This project will review the currently recommended modified BESS in concussed and non-concussed athletes aged 13-25 years in comparison with a series of other balance measures that may provide a more objective assessment. Proprioception, a component of balance will also be looked at as a part of an assessment of a concussed athlete. Normal ranges will be established in order to overcome the limitations associated with absence of baseline results.

Three studies will be completed throughout this investigation:

  • A survey of athletes across a variety of sports - The online survey seeks to collect basic information at clinical presentations of concussion across a variety of sports.
  • A comparison of standard concussion test scoring, accelerometer, pressure sensor and force plate measures of balance in healthy athletes - This study will involve balance data collection on healthy athletes aged 13-35 using a range of balance measures including the modified BESS, smart phone accelerometer, pressure sensor plates and a force plate as well as an active movement extent discrimination (proprioception) test. 
  • A comparison of standard concussion test scoring, accelerometer, pressure sensor and force plate measures of balance in concussed athletes - This study will collect balance data on concussed athletes aged 13-35 years within 72 hours of injury. The aim of the study is to determine whether the current balance tests are better at detecting balance deficit in athletes with suspected concussion, or whether a pressure sensor, accelerometer app, foot lift count, or active movement discrimination apparatus offer a more sensitive test to detect balance abnormalities in this group.

How can you assist?

The Department of Sports Medicine is interested in assessing both healthy and concussed athletes at the AIS facility. Testing will involve 30 minutes of your time and completion of a range of balance assessments. If you believe that you can contribute to this research or would like more information please contact Dr Lisa Elkington on 02 6214 1578 or via email.

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