Muscle weakness is one of the primary impairments that limits walking following traumatic brain injury (TBI), the leading cause of disability amongst young adults aged 15-45 years. Despite intensive rehabilitation, over 75% of survivors of moderate and severe TBI never return to full independence and/or function. Independent walking is required for many daily tasks, whereas often understated higher-level activities, such as running, are required for participation in employment, social, leisure and sporting activities.
To date, intensive strength training programs have failed to improve walking following neurological injury. The aim of this multi-centre trial is to implement ballistic strength training for people with TBI during the early recovery phase post-injury, targeted to the three main muscle groups responsible for forward propulsion when walking. This type of strength training is usually performed by athletes and sports people, but preliminary investigations indicate that ballistic strength training may be equally effective for brain injury.
This is a multi-centre RCT funded by the NHMRC (Project Grant APP1104237) conducted at Epworth Healthcare (Melb), Liverpool (Sydney), Caulfield (Melb), RoyalRehab (Sydney) and Hampstead (Adelaide). We are aiming to recruit 132 participants with TBI and this trial is due to complete in Dec 2021.
For further information on this trial, please email Associate Professor of Physiotherapy Rehabilitation at Epworth Healthcare – Professor Gavin Williams.
The above image highlights one of the intervention exercises in ballistic strength training.