Baseline Concussion Clinical Measures Are Related to Sensory Organization and Balance.
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This study aimed to examine relationships among baseline demographics, symptom severity, computerized neurocognitive outcomes, and balance performance in collegiate athletes.Collegiate varsity athletes (N = 207, age = 19.3 ± 1.0 yr) participating in an ongoing clinical research program who completed concussion baseline assessments including a demographic questionnaire, a graded symptom checklist, a neurocognitive assessment, and the Sensory Organization Test (SOT) were included in this study. The SOT composite equilibrium score (COMP) and three sensory ratio scores-vestibular (VEST), visual (VIS), and somatosensory (SOM)-were used to describe athletes' overall sensory organization and ability to use input from each sensory system to maintain balance. Separate stepwise multiple linear regression models were performed for each SOT outcome. Total symptom severity level and CNS Vital Signs domain scores served as predictor variables.Stepwise regression models for COMP (R = 0.18, F4,201 = 11.29, P < 0.001), VEST (R = 0.14, F4,201 = 8.16, P < 0.001), and VIS (R = 0.10, F4,201 = 5.52, P < 0.001) were all significant. Faster reaction times and higher executive function scores were associated with higher COMP and VEST scores in separate models. Those with faster reaction times also had significantly higher VIS scores.Reaction time and executive function demonstrated significant relationships with SOT balance performance. These cognitive processes may influence athletes' ability to organize and process higher-order information and generate appropriate responses to changes in their environment, with respect to balance and injury risk. Future investigations should consider these relationships after injury, and clinicians should be mindful of this relationship when considering concussion management strategies.