Objective: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of treadmill training with virtual reality compared to treadmill training alone and standard of care balance and mobility treatment in chronic traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Participants and design: Thirty-one individuals with chronic TBI with self-reported and objective balance deficits participated in a 4-week 12 session intervention of treadmill training with virtual reality, treadmill training alone, or standard of care overground therapy.
Outcome measures: Primary measures included recruitment and enrollment rates, retention, tolerance to intervention, completeness of outcome measures, and adverse events. Secondary measures included the Community Balance and Mobility Scale, 10 Meter Walk Test, 6 Minute Walk Test, and Timed Up and Go.
Results: No serious adverse events were reported. All participants completed all training sessions and assessments at all time points. Recruitment, enrollment, and retention rates were high. All groups showed a trend toward improvement in all balance and mobility measures following treatment.
Conclusion: Virtual reality and treadmill training are safe and feasibile for individuals with TBI. Participants show improvements on balance and mobility measures following a 4-week intervention. Future research is needed to evaluate the efficacy of this intervention compared to other modes of balance and mobility training.
Keywords: Virtual reality; balance; gait training; traumatic brain injury; treadmill training.