Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial to Address Balance Deficits After Traumatic Brain Injury

Candace Tefertiller, Kaitlin Hays, Audrey Natale, Denise O'Dell, Jessica Ketchum, M. Sevigny, C. B. Eagye, Angela Philippus, Cynthia Harrison-Felix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of an in-home 12-week physical therapy (PT) intervention that utilized a virtual reality (VR) gaming system to improve balance in individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Setting: Home-based exercise program (HEP). Participants: Individuals (N=63; traditional HEP n=32; VR n=31) at least 1 year post-TBI, ambulating independently within the home, not currently receiving PT services. Main Outcome Measures: Primary: Community Balance and Mobility Scale (CB&M); Secondary: Balance Evaluation Systems Test (BESTest), Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC), Participation Assessment with Recombined Tools-Objective (PART-O). Results: No significant between-group differences were observed in the CB&M over the study duration (P=.9983) for individuals who received VR compared to those who received a HEP to address balance deficits after chronic TBI nor in any of the secondary outcomes: BESTest (P=.8822); ABC (P=.4343) and PART-O (P=.8822). However, both groups demonstrated significant improvements in CB&M and BESTest from baseline to 6, 12, and at 12 weeks follow-up (all P's <.001). Regardless of treatment group, 52% of participants met or exceeded the minimal detectable change of 8 points on the CB&M at 24 weeks and 38% met or exceeded the minimal detectable change of 7.81 points on the BESTest. Conclusion: This study did not find that VR training was more beneficial than a traditional HEP for improving balance. However, individuals with chronic TBI in both treatment groups demonstrated improvements in balance in response to these interventions which were completed independently in the home environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1409-1416
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine


  • Balance
  • Evidence based medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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