Improving mobility after traumatic brain injury with ballistic strength training

Lead Researcher Email Number Webpage
Associate Professor Jennifer McGinley View page

Project Details

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is the leading cause of disability amongst young adults. Currently, despite intensive rehabilitation, over 75% of survivors of moderate and severe TBI never return to full independence or function. Mobility limitations are prevalent, and restrict participation in employment, as well as social, leisure and sporting activities. There are no evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for managing the physical sequelae of TBI. Our team has identified that low power generation caused by muscle weakness is one of the primary impairments that limits walking following TBI. Previous clinical trials have not targeted muscle power generation during strength training. We have pioneered several preliminary studies using 'ballistic' or fast movements during strength training to improve power generation for walking. This approach to strengthening is unique in that it targets exactly how the muscles work during walking. Our team has demonstrated that ballistic strength training is not only safe and feasible, but it is associated with a 60-74% increase in peak power generation. We plan the first-ever RCT of ballistic strength training for people with TBI targeted to the three main muscle groups responsible for forward propulsion when walking.

This study is significant and innovative on two levels: 1) it will be the first to demonstrate the efficacy of ballistic strength training in any neurological population, and 2) it will be the first to provide high level evidence for any physical intervention in TBI.



NHMRC Project Grant; $661,430.40

Research Group

Neurological rehabilitation

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Mental Health, Recovery and Rehabilitation Across the Lifespan

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre


Unit / Centre

Neurological rehabilitation