Injury Profiles in Wheelchair Athletes: Results of a Retrospective Survey


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Abstract

Little is known about the nature and mechanism of sports injuries among wheelchair athletes. The purpose of this study was to develop an injury profile for this group. A total of 90 wheelchair athletes were surveyed retrospectively by means of a questionnaire. Three hundred forty-six injuries were reported in 18 different sports, 107 (30.9%) of which occurred in basketball, 106 (30.6%) in track, and 42 (12.1%) in road racing. Eighty percent of the athletes were competitive, with 60% competing at a national level. Most of the athletes trained 6–10 h/week. Injuries to the soft tissue of the upper extremities were most common, with the hand involved 21.3% and the shoulder 16.7% of the time. Blisters and abrasions accounted for 47.4% of the injuries. All of the athletes surveyed sustained injuries, yet little protective gear was worn except for gloves (60%). In view of the potentially serious long-term complications of some of these injuries, and the corresponding impact on the ability of these athletes to carry out their functions of daily living, prompt diagnosis and treatment are mandatory. Despite this, less than one-third (30.8%) of all wheelchair athletes sought medical assistance for their sports injuries.

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