A Descriptive Study of Self-Reported Injury in Non-elite Adaptive Athletes.

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BACKGROUND: Adaptive sports programs are increasing across the country and there is a paucity of research investigating the epidemiology and sports injury risk factors in non-elite athletes.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the demographics, training regime, and injuries incurred by adaptive athletes participating in local adaptive sports clubs and to assess the athletes' type of medical care and prevalence of those with spasticity.

DESIGN: Descriptive cross-sectional study.

SETTING: Local area adaptive sports teams and programs.

PARTICIPANTS: Sixty-one athletes participating in wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, sled hockey, and adaptive rowing were surveyed, with a response rate of 70.5%.

INTERVENTIONS: Completion of self-report survey.

OUTCOME: Report of injury prevalence, injury characteristics, type of medical care, and assessment of frequency and severity of spasticity using the Penn Spasm Frequency Scale.

RESULTS: Most athletes (86%) trained or competed in their main sport 9-12 months per year. Most athletes (79.1%) trained at least 4 hours per week. In the past 12 months, 39.5% of athletes surveyed sustained an injury that required them to miss practice or a competition, with 58.8% of these athletes having sustained a significant injury. Many of those injured (64.7%) had never participated in an injury prevention or conditioning program. Injury prevalence by sport was 42.9% in wheelchair rugby, 60% in sled hockey, 44% wheelchair basketball, and 0% in adaptive rowing. The most commonly injured body parts were the shoulder (52.9%) and wrist (52.9%).

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that non-elite adaptive sports athletes sustain similar types of injuries as noted in published reports of elite athletes but could be provided with less injury prevention education and access to medical care. This area will require future study, especially investigating injury risk factors within specific sports and diagnoses.


Clinical Institute

Orthopedics & Sports Medicine


Sports Medicine