Intensive Physical Exercise Versus Standard Exercise During Rehabilitation of Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury (INSPIRE)


Christian Riberholt


Begins enrollment this month


Traumatic Brain Injury


Other: INSPIRE intervention protocol

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


The aim of this randomised multicentre clinical feasibility and pilot trial is to test if a sit-to-stand trial protocol is feasible regarding the increased intensity, trial recruitment, and completion of outcome data in patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury during the rehabilitation phase. For the trial to be feasible, all outcomes must be achieved. The primary hypothesis is that it is feasible to progressively increase the number of repetitions of sit-to-stand exercises in patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury admitted to a rehabilitation department during the intervention period. Furthermore, the investigators hypothesize that the increased number of repetitions will increase the participant's functional capabilities regarding sit-to-stand and walking, decrease resting heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism, reduce inflammatory and brain injury biomarkers, and improve the cognitive performance.

Full description

This is a randomised multicentre clinical feasibility and pilot trial, where assessors and statisticians will be blinded. Forty-four participants with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury will be randomised to INSPIRE versus standard care as soon as they are able to understand and execute simple commands twice during one day. Participants in the INSPIRE group will undergo two weeks of intensive sit-to-stand exercise using an algorithm to increase the intensity daily. The trial uses predefined dose-limiting events to reduce training intensity in participants experiencing exercise-related adverse events that limit other daily activities and rehabilitation (e.g. muscle soreness and pain). Overall feasibility will be assessed by determining the inclusion rate, exercise completion rate, and completion of the Glasgow Outcome Scale - Extended. As exploratory clinical outcomes, the investigators will assess serious adverse events and adverse events not considered serious, physical function, cardiovascular and metabolic health, fatigue, and cognitive function.


44 estimated patients




18+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Moderate to severe traumatic brain injury with Glasgow Coma Score <13 within the first 24 hours (ICD10, DS06)
  • Admitted for rehabilitation at the Department of Brain and Spinal Cord Injury, Division of Brain Injury, Rigshospitalet, the Regional Hospital, Hammel Neurocentre or the Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre, Alfred Hospital
  • 18 years old or older
  • Patients (or next of kin) should be able to understand written and spoken Danish or English to consent to participation in the trial validly
  • Specifically for Australian participants: eligibility for Medicare

Exclusion criteria

  • Unstable fractures of the lower extremities
  • Amputation of lower extremity
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Total paralysis of both lower extremities
  • Agitated or combative behaviour
  • Diagnosed with a progressive neurological disorder (e.g. Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis) prior to traumatic brain injury, as it could potentially interfere with serum biomarker levels
  • Previous structural brain injury (e.g. stroke or brain surgery)
  • No valid consent from the participant or next of kin

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


Single Blind

44 participants in 2 patient groups

Experimental group
Intervention group. Daily intensive sit-to-stand exercises following a described algorithm and utilising motor-relearning principles of feedback to increase the participant's motivation. This exercise is an addition to standard care.
Other: INSPIRE intervention protocol
Standard care group
No Intervention group
Treatment in this group will be standard care interventions performed at the rehabilitation department.

Trial contacts and locations



Central trial contact

Christian G Riberholt, PT, MR, PhD; Yasemin Ronahi Kücük, M.D

Data sourced from

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