Evaluation of a Shoulder Injury Prevention Program in Wheelchair Basketball

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Previous literature has theorized that alterations in shoulder physical characteristics are present in wheelchair athletes and contribute to shoulder pain and injury. Limited empirical evidence is present that evaluates the effectiveness of a shoulder injury prevention program focusing on improving these altered characteristics. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a 6-week intervention program at improving characteristics that increases the risk of developing pain or shoulder injury. Design: Pretest and posttest. Setting: Home-based and controlled laboratory. Participants: Seven college wheelchair athletes. Interventions: Shoulder range of motion (ROM) and scapular muscle strength were assessed, and a 5-minute injury prevention program was taught to participants. Participants completed the intervention 3 times per week for 6 weeks. Following completion of the program, a postintervention screening was performed. Main Outcome Measures: Internal rotation (IR)/external rotation (ER) ROM, retraction strength, and IR/ER strength. Results: Participants experienced a significant improvement in dominant limb shoulder IR ROM (t6 = 3.56, P = .01) with an average increase of 11.4° of IR ROM and a significant improvement in dominant limb shoulder ER ROM (t6 = 2.79, P = .03) with an average increase of 8.0° of ER ROM. There were no significant increases in shoulder IR or ER strength and scapular retraction strength (P > .05). Conclusions: Improvements in ROM have previously been linked to decreases in shoulder pain and injury in other upper-extremity dominant sports by improving scapular kinematics. These results provide evidence that a 6-week strengthening and stretching intervention program may decrease risk factors for shoulder injury in wheelchair basketball athletes.

Wilroy is with the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Spain Rehabilitation Center, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA. Hibberd is with the Department of Health Science, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA.

Wilroy (jeremew@lakeshore.org) is corresponding author.
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