Collaborative Study Shows Positive Effects of Taekwondo On Individuals with Brain Injuries

Bancroft NeuroRehab client practicing Taekwondo.

Collaborative Study Shows Positive Effects of Taekwondo On Individuals with Brain Injuries

Six people supported by Bancroft’s Neurorehab program participated in a study to see the impact of Taekwondo on individuals with acquired and traumatic brain injuries. The study was in partnership with the University of the Sciences Occupational Therapy Department and looked at how Taekwondo could affect social and community connectedness, balance, attention and focus, and overall quality of life. 

The program took place at Cherry Hill Martial Arts with Chief Instructor, Master Joseph Mertz over a two-month period. Each participant was required to attend two classes per week with classes including moving drills, stretching, kicking, punching and hand techniques, blocking, patterns, and self defense. The final graduation ceremony and belt test takes place on May 11.

Bancroft NeuroRehab client practicing Taekwondo.“We were able to see improvements in as early as two weeks in some cases,” says Carolyn Tassini, PT, DBT, CBIST Bancroft NeuroRehab Rehabilitation Supervisor. “We believe that part of the success is that participants were able to take more risks than when they are just in a clinical setting. The fact that this was community-based made all the difference and right now there are just not enough opportunities like this.””

Early observations from the study, which concludes with a graduation ceremony and belt test on May 11 include:

  • Improvements in balance
  • Social engagement and support
  • Memory gains
  • Improvement in gains made in clinic-setting therapy sessions

“We are so happy to be able to provide this opportunity for our participants to engage in a community-based martial arts program.” says  Dr. Emily Bubel, Doctoral Capstone Coordinator at University of the Sciences,  “The collaboration between USciences, Bancroft and CHMA has made this program possible.  We have seen positive reactions from our participants and we are optimistic that our measurable outcomes will show positive changes as well.  The ultimate goal is for us to be able to continue to provide this community activity for our current participants and be able to offer it to new people who are interested.”

Master Joseph Mertz underscores the impact, “I love seeing the excitement in their eyes when they are here, watching them improve physically and spiritually.”

Watch the class break boards! 



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