A Comparison of Static and Dynamic Balance in Congenitally Blind, Sighted, and Sighted Blindfolded Adolescents

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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The purpose of this investigation was to compare static and dynamic balance in sighted, sighted blindfolded, and congenitally blind students. The subjects (N = 51) ranged in age from 14.1 to 17.4 years of age. The sighted subjects (N = 34) were randomly assigned to one of two groups, 17 in the sighted and 17 in the sighted blindfolded group. The 17 congenitally blind subjects were selected from the total population of blind students attending a special school for the blind. All subjects were tested for static balance using the Stork Stand. Dynamic balance was measured using the stabilometer. The data analysis revealed significant differences between all three groups, with the sighted group demonstrating superior balance for both measures. The blind subjects performed significantly better than the sighted blindfolded group for dynamic balance only. The results of the study support previous investigations which have demonstrated that sighted individuals have better balance when compared with blind individuals. However, the fact that the blind subjects performed better on dynamic balance when compared to the sighted blindfolded group points to the need for immediate intervention in this area for adventitiously blind persons, or those acquiring blindness later in life.

Request reprints from Dr. Robert A. Rider, Department of Movement Science and Physical Education, 201 Montgomery Gym, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306.

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