Commentary on Validity of the Muscle Power Sprint Test in Ambulatory Youth With Cerebral Palsy

Hendershot, Sarah DPT; Heathcock, Jill C. MPT, PhD

Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3182792a7e
Clinical Bottom Line
Author Information

Nationwide Children's Hospital and The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University, Division of Physical Therapy

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

“How should I apply this information?”

The Muscle Power Sprint Test (MPST) has 2 main clinical applications in fitness testing for children with cerebral palsy (CP). First, anaerobic performance is an underevaluated area of assessment in children with CP. The MPST may allow for easier assessment of anaerobic power, given high concurrent validity with the Wingate Anaerobic cycling Test (WAnT). The MPST is a very quick test and can be administered without expensive equipment. To complete the MPST, an open space of 15 m, a stopwatch, and the ability to measure height and weight of the child are needed. The MPST can be used in a variety of clinical settings. Second, it is important to note that the authors also explore validity with the WAnT. The authors do not provide any evidence or suggestions related to referring, altering, or influencing physical therapy intervention options. Further it is important to address all aspects of fitness in an assessment, and it is necessary to include other tests, such as aerobic capacity tests, and to concurrently assess functional performance and use comprehensive outcomes. Measuring and improving fitness levels could have implications for wellness and function in all children with CP. The MPST may be particularly appropriate for children with goals to participate in sports or other physical activities.

“What should I be mindful about when applying this information?”

The results of this study are not generalizable to children with nonspastic CP, those outside the 7- to 18-year age range, and those who are not levels I or II of the Gross Motor Function Classification System. The study participants were all recruited from a single school in the Netherlands. Furthermore, specific timing and instructions are included in the test procedure so children who have difficulty understanding or following directions may not be appropriate for this test. This test is based on maximal effort sprinting performance. The test may not be appropriate for children who have lower extremity musculoskeletal conditions, delayed running skills, or decreased motivation, as these conditions could cause inaccurate measurement of anaerobic performance. Anaerobic performance is measured by peak anaerobic power and mean anaerobic power. A calculation is needed to compute both values of power. The scores on the MPST cannot be used as direct comparisons to scores on the WAnT because the authors found that scores on the MPST are consistently lower. Additional studies may be necessary to determine the responsiveness to change and the minimal clinically important difference of this test to improve its use as an outcome measure.

Sarah Hendershot, DPT

Nationwide Children's Hospital

and The Ohio State University

Jill C. Heathcock, MPT, PhD

The Ohio State University,

Division of Physical Therapy

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.