OBJECTIVE: To determine a balance recovery timeline after a functional exertion protocol using the Balance Error Scoring System (BESS). DESIGN AND SETTING: Five subject groups (4 test, 1 control) were tested 3 times during 1 session: once before the exertion protocol (pretest) and twice after the exertion protocol (posttest I and posttest II). Posttest I occurred at staggered intervals of 0, 5, 10, and 15 minutes, depending on experimental group assignment, and posttest II occurred at 20 minutes. SUBJECTS: One hundred subjects (80 test, 20 control) volunteered to participate in this study. None of the subjects had a balance disorder, mild head injury, or lower extremity injury in the 6 months before testing. MEASUREMENTS: We assessed balance using the BESS, assigning a score for each stance-surface condition. RESULTS: We found a significant decrease in BESS performance after the exertion protocol in all test groups, with exertion having the greatest effect on the tandem and single-leg stance conditions. All subjects recovered by posttest II, which was administered 20 minutes after cessation of the exertion protocol. CONCLUSIONS: Athletic trainers need to be aware of the effect of exertion when administering the BESS after physical activity. Athletic trainers can expect the BESS performance of healthy athletes to return to baseline levels within 20 minutes of rest.