The specialised frames helping children with cerebral palsy run

4 Jan 2024

A pilot program by UQ researchers has developed a specialised frame, to help children with cerebral palsy enjoy running for the first time.

The following excerpt is from ABC NewsSpecialised frames helping children with cerebral palsy run

Eleven-year-old Scarlett Halliday is experiencing the freedom and joy of running for the first time in her life.

Scarlett, who has cerebral palsy (CP) and uses a wheelchair, tried frame running as part of a University of Queensland (UQ) study earlier this year — and now, she can't get enough of it.


The Run4HealthCP pilot study featured 12 children and young people, aged between eight and 21, who had moderate to high support needs.

The program saw participants undertake two, 60-minute frame running sessions a week for 12 weeks.

Project leader Sarah Reedman, a research fellow at the Queensland Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research Centre, said the study had identified improvements in their heart and lung health.

"They were able to run for longer and their ability to tolerate exercise improved," Dr Reedman said.

"Their heart rate […] returned to normal more quickly, which is really important because it shows the heart is healthy."

People with cerebral palsy have a three-fold increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, compared to the general population.

Dr Reedman said children with cerebral palsy were also at a higher risk of developing respiratory infections.

Showing the benefits of exercise in children with cerebral palsy is seen as significant, given the condition is the most common physical disability in childhood.

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