Article Critique Chrysagis, N.; Skordilis, E.K.; Stavrou, N.; Brammatopoulou, E. and Koutsouki, D. (September 2012). “The Effect of Treadmill Training on Gross Motor Function and Walking Speed in Ambulatory Adolescents with Cerebral Palsy: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Am…
Participants/Subjects The participants/subjects consisted of 22 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 19 from a school for children suffering from physical maladies. The students were selected from a random population sample and divided into two groups: an experimental group and a control group. Both groups were subjected to a three month training program which proceeded three times each week. Tests measuring walking speeds, gross motor skills and muscle tone were conducted both prior to and after the program commenced and ended. The control group’s program consisted of treatment and traditional physiotherapy which involved three exercise regiments with balance, gait, mat and “functional gross motor activities” (Chrysagis, et. al., 2012, p. 747). The experimental group’s program consisted of treadmill training without the use of support for body weight and with a “comfortable speed” (Chrysagis, et. al., 2012, p. 747). Findings At the conclusion of the three month program research findings indicated that there were appreciable differences between the experimental group and the control group in terms of GMF and walking speeds. In both cases, the experimental group’s GMF and walking speed scores were greater than those for the control group. There was no significant difference in the muscle tone outcomes between the two groups. Thus results of the study indicate that treadmill training may contribute to an improvement in walking speeds and GFM of ambulatory adolescents with cerebral palsy without having a negative impact on muscle tone. Limitations of the Study The study is limited by the fact that it was conducted among a relatively small population sample. The population sample consisted of only 22 adolescents and when divided into two groups further narrowed the sample down to 11 in each group. The validity of the results among such a small population is further compromised by the fact that the students were selected from the same school. Selecting all students from one facility where they share the same physical education regiment indicates that the results of the study may very well be related to other physical education activities shared by the group at school. The difference in the outcome may have been mere coincidence since the sample sizes were so small. A larger sample population among students from different schools would have made the results more valid. Authors Acknowledge Limitations The authors pointed out limitations of their own. The acknowledged limitations included the observation that the student participants were not tested for muscle strength and endurance and that the results of the test may have been influenced by muscle strength and endurance. The authors also noted that interventions and support during the training program by physical therapists might have contributed to the results of the study as well. Implications The study can be useful to physical education teachers who train ambulatory students with cerebral palsy. It indicates that the treadmill can be a safe alternative for students with cerebral palsy to possibly improve walking speed and GMF, if used with the help of physical therapists or with close supervision. Next Study Based on the results of the study and the limitations reported I would conduct further research on the impact of the treadmill on muscle, tone, strength and endurance, GMF and Walking Speed of adolescents with ...
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