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OBJECTIVE: Balance deficits in individuals suffering from mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) have been documented in numerous recent studies. However, long-lasting balance deficits and specific mechanisms causing these deficits have not been systematically examined. This paper aimed to present empirical evidence showing destabilizing effects of visual field motion in concussed individuals up to 30 days post-injury.

METHOD: 60 student-athletes participated in pilot (n = 12) and major experiments(n = 48) prior to injury. Eight of these 48 subjects who suffered MTBI in athletic events were tested again on Day 3, Day 10 Day 30 after the incident. Postural responses to visual field motion were recorded using a virtual reality (VR) environment in conjunction with balance (AMTI force plate) and motion tracking (Flock of Birds, FOB) technologies.

RESULTS: The area of the center of pressure during upright quite stance basically did not changed from Day 3-30 post-injury with respect to pre-injury status (P > .05). However, balance deficits induced by visual field motion were present up to 30 days post-injury. Destabilizing effect of visual field motion was observed via significant increase of the CP data (P < .05) and reduced coherence value.

CONCLUSION: Our data suggest the presence of residual sensory integration dysfunction in concussed individuals at least 30 days post-injury and may indicate a lower threshold for brain re/injury.

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