Research Reports - Using global positioning systems with the outdoor activity of people with traumatic brain injury

J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2014 Mar 19;11:37

Clark RA(1), Weragoda N, Paterson K, Telianidis S, Williams G

BACKGROUND: Little is known about the post-discharge outdoor activities of people
who have incurred severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study used a
body-worn global positioning system (GPS) device to determine the outdoor
activity per day performed by this population. Additionally, this study examined
the association that mobility, time since injury and injury severity had with
levels of outdoor physical activity.
FINDINGS: Seventeen people with TBI and 15 control subjects wore a GPS device for
between 3-7 days to monitor their outdoor activity. Based on the individual's
location and speed of movement the outdoor physical activity in minutes per day
was derived. Assessments of duration of outdoor activity between groups, and the
relationship that duration of outdoor activity had with results on the high-level
mobility assessment tool, length of post-traumatic amnesia, and time since injury
were performed. No significant (p = 0.153, effect size = 0.26) difference in time
spent in outdoor physical activity was observed between the TBI (median[IQR] =
19[3-43]mins) and control (median[IQR] = 50[18-65]mins) group. Interestingly, 35%
of TBI subjects performed <10 mins of outdoor activity per day compared to 13% of
the control group. The TBI group also recorded three of the four highest values
for outdoor physical activity. Higher levels of mobility were associated with
more outdoor activity (Spearman's rho = 0.443, p = 0.038). No other significant
associations were observed.
CONCLUSIONS: While preliminary, our results indicate that a sub-group of people
with TBI exists who restrict their outdoor activities. GPS has potential as an
activity tracking tool, with implications for rehabilitation and exercise
prescription.

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