Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado


Kayla Howerton

Faculty Sponsor

Kathryn Bright


Balance and postural stability are crucial elements in daily activities and the training of athletes. Volleyball requires the athlete to be capable of regaining balance after jumping and landing. Gymnastics requires the athlete to have focus on multiple aspects of balance during the execution of a skill. Current literature has examined age, comparison of certain sports to other sports, and children in athletics, all with regards to postural stability. Current literature has shown that there is a correlation between balance training and increase of performance and decrease in injuries (Oliver & Di Brezzo, 2009).

This research assessed the balance systems of athletes to determine if there is a relationship between two types of sports and balance function. The comparison of athletes to non-athletes indicated whether athletes have greater postural stability, the comparison of gymnasts to volleyball players indicated whether gymnasts have increased postural stability over volleyball players. A videonystagmography (VNG) and posturography assessment were used to evaluate postural stability. The VNG examines eye movement to check for possible vestibular dysfunction. The posturography assessment measures the participant’s center of pressure in five conditions, eyes open and closed on a rigid surface, eyes open and closed on a compliant surface, and limits of stability. Twenty participants, 6 gymnasts, 6 volleyball players and 8 non-athletes, were tested using the VNG and posturography equipment. There is insignificant statistical difference of postural stability between gymnasts, volleyball players and non-athletes.