Objective: To examine and describe normative values for an objective, mobile measure of postural stability commonly used in concussion assessments, SWAY Balance (SWAY Medical, Tulsa, Oklahoma).
Design: Retrospective analysis of baseline balance assessments in a healthy pediatric population.
Setting: Baseline assessments completed by certified athletic trainers at an outpatient concussion center or sports medicine offices in Philadelphia, PA and surrounding suburban Pennsylvania and New Jersey or during an athletic trainer's baseline assessment of collegiate athletes at a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division-II University in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Participants: Test results of a sample of 466 athletes aged 5 to 18 years were included.
Interventions: The SWAY Balance test was administered using a mobile device on all participants as part of a standard preseason, baseline evaluation, following the standard evaluation protocol.
Main outcome measures: Baseline SWAY Balance mobile assessment balance and reaction time scores, age and sex effects, were examined.
Results: Normative scores are described, with results stratified into 4 age groups (5-9, 10-12, 13-17, and 18 years old). Balance scores, overall and within each individual stance score, improved with the age of the participants. Sex effects on balance were only seen in single-leg stances, with females outperforming males. Reaction time was found to be faster in males and improved with age, peaking at 13 to 17 years old and slowing in 18-year-olds.
Conclusions: Normative, age-specific SWAY Balance test results provided are of clinical use as references in the concussion assessments of pediatric athletes.