Evaluation of the Optimum Duration and Effectiveness of a Plyometric Training Program for Improving the Motor Abilities of Youth with Cerebral Palsy

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Johnson, Barbara A.
cerebral palsy; plyometric treatment; motor ability; Medical Education
thesis / dissertation description
Current research examining the effects of resistive exercise programs in children with cerebral palsy (CP) has not met national guidelines for the duration of training. The lack of improvement in gross motor abilities after resistive training may be attributed to insufficient duration. Additionally, plyometric training has not been used as a treatment, despite evidence suggesting that it can improve running, throwing, and jumping skills. The current study evaluated the optimum duration and effects on gross motor abilities of a plyometric training treatment for three participants with spastic, unilateral CP using a multiple baseline, multiple probe design. Treatment was designed using the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s guidelines for intensity, volume, frequency, and variety of training. Treatment resulted in improvements in GMFM 66 scores, agility, and broad jump distance for all three participants. Consistency preceded improvements in distance or height. The optimum duration was dependent on the individual child and the outcome measure. Ongoing training is necessary to maintain running speed. However,slight declines or maintenance of performance in the GMFM, agility, and power tests at follow-up may be attributed to inconsistency in performance rather than decline.