Cycling performance, muscle activation & fatigue in Paralympic athletes with CP

26 Aug 2014 - 14:30

This is the first study of its kind to investigate exercise performance and central regulation in a group of elite Paralympic athletes with cerebral palsy, as most research to date has focused on sedentary children. The most significant finding of the study was that, despite impaired performance, athletes with cerebral palsy fatigued similarly to able-bodied athletes, which is contrary to existing literature on sedentary paediatric samples showing that individuals with CP are not strong enough to create large levels of fatigue. The authors believe this may be the result of the elite-level exercise training over many years required for Paralympic competition, possibly changing muscle physiology and brain regulation. This is very important, as it indicates near-maximal adaptation of the cerebral palsied body toward able-bodied physiology. Practically, this study invites the question, “Could children with CP lead more functional lives, if they were to participate in high dosage exercise training from a young age?”

Phoebe Runciman

Full article published in  American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and can be found here