Principal Advisor: Dr Leanne Sakzewski


Phone: 07 3069 7345

Research group page: Queensland Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research Centre

Organisational unit: Child Health Research Centre

Children with cerebral palsy (CP) who have difficulty walking or cannot walk have low physical activity levels and very high sedentary behaviour. When they become adults, they have at least a 3-fold increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to people without CP. There are few high quality clinical trials of interventions in to improve physical activity in this population, and none that specifically target risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

This PhD program will investigate the results of a clinical trial of 12 weeks of training in a brand new sport called Frame Running (RaceRunning) in 52 children and young people with CP aged 8-20 years who have difficulty walking or cannot walk. Frame Running is a para-athletic event using a specially-designed supportive frame. You will measure the effect of the training on cardiovascular health including cardiovascular fitness, body composition, and physical activity. You will also see if it improves community participation, functional strength, and gross motor ability.

There will be a large site in Brisbane (n=24), and two smaller sites in Cairns (n=18) and Sydney (n=10), all involving local experienced clinicians and consumer representatives. The candidate could be located in Brisbane or Cairns. If effective, this training could improve future health outcomes for children with CP and be quickly translated into clinical practice and community sport. This project will be supervised by A/Prof Leanne Sakzewski and Dr Sarah Reedman. The clinical trial is registered, ethically approved and underway. Run4Health CP is supported by funding from the Children's Hospital Foundation of Queensland (ECR0262020).