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Self-Selected Walking Speed Predicts Ability to Run Following Traumatic Brain Injury

Williams, Gavin PhD; Schache, Anthony G. PhD; Morris, Meg E. PhD

Section Editor(s): Caplan, Bruce PhD, ABPP; Bogner, Jennifer PhD, ABPP

The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: September/October 2013 - Volume 28 - Issue 5 - p 379–385
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e3182575f80
Original Articles

Objective: To identify factors that predict running ability following traumatic brain injury (TBI), and to quantify performance thresholds for these predictors.

Design: Cross-sectional cohort study.

Participants: One hundred fourteen people with TBI.

Outcome Measures: Self-selected walking speed, the high-level mobility assessment tool, postural stability (lateral center of mass displacement), ankle power generation at push-off and quality of gait performance (Gait Profile Score).

Results: All predictor variables were all strongly associated with the ability to run. However, only self-selected walking speed contributed significantly to the final result. Investigation of performance thresholds for self-selected walking speed indicated that following TBI, people who walk at speeds of 1.0 m/s or higher are 16.9 times more likely of being able to run than for those who walk at speeds of less than 1.0 m/s.

Conclusions: Self-selected walking speeds higher than 1.0 m/s greatly increase the likelihood of running following brain injury. The 1.0 m/s threshold, although slower than able-bodied self-selected walking speeds, may be an important indicator of the ability to run in this population.

Physiotherapy Department, Epworth Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Dr Williams); and Centre for Health Exercise and Sports Medicine, School of Physiotherapy (Drs Williams and Morris) and Department of Mechanical Engineering (Dr Schache), University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Corresponding Author: Gavin Williams, PhD, Physiotherapy Department, Epworth Hospital., 89 Bridge Rd, Richmond, 3121, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (

The authors thank Sean McGuigan for his assistance in preparing the manuscript.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins