To investigate the effects of competitive and noncompetitive volleyball exercises on the functional performance and motor control of the upper limbs in chronic stroke survivors.
Randomized clinical trial.
Outpatient rehabilitation center.
Chronic stroke survivors (N=48).
Participants were randomly assigned to competitive (n=16) or noncompetitive (n=16) volleyball exercise groups (60min/d volleyball exercise+30min/d traditional rehabilitation, 3d/wk for 7wk) and control group (n=16).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
Reach and grasp motor control measures were evaluated through kinematic analysis. Functional outcomes were assessed via Motor Activity Log, Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT), Box and Block Test, and Wrist Position Sense Test.
Significant improvement of functional performance was observed in both competitive (P<.0001) and noncompetitive volleyball exercise groups (P<.01), but not in the control group (P>.05), with the exception of WMFT score. Volleyball training, in general, resulted in more efficient spatiotemporal control of reach and grasp functions, as well as less dependence on feedback control as compared to the control group. Moreover, the competitive volleyball exercise group exhibited greater improvement in both functional performance and motor control levels.
Volleyball team exercises, especially in a competitive format, resulted in enhancing the efficacy of the preprogramming and execution of reach and grasp movements, as well as a shift from feedback to feedforward control of the affected upper limb in chronic stroke survivors. This may well be a potential underlying mechanism for improving functional performance.