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Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a disorder caused by injury to the brain, usually through stroke or head trauma, that affects a persons ability to control movement and posture. CP is not a disease and is not contagious or progressive. The effects of CP can improve significantly over time with medical treatment, therapy, and physical training.

The term cerebral palsy (CP) is often misunderstood because it is a catch-all diagnosis for any child with brain injury, regardless of the cause (stroke, birth trauma, head injury, asphyxiation). Children are given the CP diagnosis because, unlike adults, brain injury in children can interfere with growth and development. Basically, bones, tendons, and ligaments can't grow properly unless muscles squeeze on them. When there is injury to the brain, affected muscles do not receive proper brain signals instructing them to move and contract. Lack of movement and contraction can cause sub-optimal growth and development, which can result in disfigurement and poor mobility.

Fortunately, many of the effects of CP and brain injury can be offset with proper medical treatment, physical therapy, and exercise. The more a person moves and exercises, the more neurological pathways develop, and the more normal the physical development can be. That is why sports participation is very beneficial to individuals that have suffered brain injury or stroke.

Though many people think CP is a disease, the fact is, CP is not contagious or progressive. It is simply injury to a part of the body that is difficult to heal and that controls body movement. Just like you can't catch a bump on the knee or a cut on your finger, you can't catch a stroke, brain injury, or CP.

Also, it is important to understand that most individuals with CP have normal IQ's. Unfortunately, the inability to move properly and sometimes speak properly, causes many people to think individuals with CP are also mentally challenged. More often then not, this is not the case.