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Sports-Related Injuries Epidemiology in Athletes with Disabilities


Sports-Related Injuries  – As with all types of athletes, injuries are general among athletes with disabilities. A study showed that out of 426 athletes who participated in the national competition of the National Wheelchair Athletic Association, the United States Association for Blind Athletes, and the United States Cerebral Palsy Athletic Association, a total of 32 percent of the athletes sustained some injury which results in loss of time able to compete.

Over half of the damages to the athletes who were blind were to the lower extremities. Injuries to athletes with cerebral palsy are reasonably evenly between the knee, shoulder, forearm/wrist and leg/ankle areas. This study demonstrates that injuries among athletes with a disability were nearly equal to those without a disability.

In a review by Fagher and Lexell, the authors looked at 25 studies involving sports-related injuries to athletes with disabilities. They looked at characteristics, number of incidents, prevalence, and prevention strategies for damages to these athletes.

Among the critical statistics found in this report, it shows that the occurrence of damage at the Summer Paralympic Games in 2012, around 17% of athletes that participated sustained some injury as the number of injuries among participants with injury was about equal to the number of injuries among athletes without a disability.

Medical Considerations for Athletes with Disabilities

Medical Considerations for Athletes with Disabilities

Athletes with disabilities are predisposed to medicinal conditions and have a higher prevalence than that non-disabled individuals. Understanding these conditions is vital to these athletes’ proper prevention, care, and return to activity. And also, the next briefly describes these conditions, though this is not a thorough list due to the considerable anatomical and structural variances that occur with persons with disabilities.

Wheelchair Athletes

Wheelchair Athletes

Many contestants utilize a wheelchair as means of mobility. These individuals have mainly sustained spinal cord damage, leaving them incapable of having voluntary control over their extremities. One of the most urgent conditions individuals with an SCI injury can encounter autonomic dysreflexia.

And also, it conditions in individuals with injuries at or above the T6 spinal level. Autonomic dysreflexia begins with a toxic stimulus below the lesion status, and the body exhibits an uncontrolled sympathetic response. Basically, it is a checkup emergency requiring immediate attention.

And also, Klenck and Gebke report that some athletes, regardless of the dangers, attempt to intentionally induce autonomic dysreflexia leading them to competitive advantage because of an increase in cardiac output.



Persons with amputations participate in a variety of athletic activities. These people utilize prostheses to compete in their respective sports. And also, stump injuries commonly occur due to skin abrasions, pressure sores, blisters, and rashes. These injuries can prevent through proper prosthetic fitting and decreasing.

Visually Impaired

Vision is a vital component of our sensory system. Humans utilize vision to adjust and interact with the environment. And also, athletes that be blind and compete in athletics have decreased proprioception, resulting in altered biomechanics and gait leading to lower extremity overuse injuries and ankle sprains and contusions.

Disability Information and Resources

Disability Information and Resources

These various adapted sports organizations, from camps to the international association, are excellent sites for a wide range of resources. And also, the home page also has links for individuals with a disability, including adapt clothing, wheelchair products, computer convenience products, housing resource, and many more.

Sports Physical Therapy Section

Here is a Physically challenging Athlete Special Interest Group for physical therapists who are American Physical Therapy Association members.

Common Barriers to contribution Experienced by People with Disabilities

Common Barriers to contribution Experienced by People with Disabilities

Almost everyone faces hardship and difficulties at one time or another. But for the public with disabilities, barriers are more frequent and have a more significant impact. And also, here is the WHO definition of barriers:

“Factors in a people’s environment that, through their absence or presence, limit functioning and create disability.

  • Firstly, a physical surrounding that is not accessible,
  • a lack of relevant assistive technology
  • , the negative attitude of people towards a disability,
  • services, systems and policies that are nonexistent or hinder the participation of all people with a health situation in all areas of life.”
  • And also,  multiple barriers often make it difficult or even impossible for people with disabilities to function.


Sports-Related Injuries – Protective equipment may include helmets, eyewear, mouth guards, face protection, jock straps, life jackets, safety mats, pads and guards, protective footwear and padded flame-resistant pressure suits for motorcyclists and motor cross participants.

And also, wearing the proper gear reduces the chances of your injury, enabling you to focus on the game and not worry about accidents.

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