Changes in sway score using the concussion balance test (COBALT) in college rodeo athletes: a pilot study

Background: The number of concussions has continued to rise over the last decade due to an increase in awareness and activity participation. The Concussion Balance Test (COBALT) has a higher sensitive when compared to other traditional tests that was introduced to challenge the athletic population. Purpose The purpose of this pilot study is to look at the change in COBALT sway scores and errors in rodeo athletes who participated in 1 year of club competition. Methods: Thirty-nine Fresno State club rodeo athletes were recruited and performed 2 baseline tests within 10-12 months in between. All subject performed the COBALT protocol for conditions 3, 4, 7, and 8. Sway scores and number of errors were recorded. Results: Significance improvements were noted in sway scores for condition 4 (p<.0125) and condition 7 (p<.0125). Condition 7 (p<.0125) also showed significant improvements when comparing errors completed in baseline 1 compared to baseline 2. Discussion: Based on the results from this pilot study, 1 year of rodeo participation without the presents of a major injury does not cause vestibular deficits. This is the first study of its kind and there was no literature to compare with currently. Future research using larger sample sizes is needed to generalize to larger populations and better understand long term effects of rodeo participation.