Understanding Injury and Injury Prevention in Para Sport Athletes

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Training loads, injury, and injury prevention in the Para sports population has not been well established. Objective: The purpose of this study was to survey elite-level swimming, cycling, and athletic Para sport athletes in the United States who were competing in the 2016 US Paralympic trials to better understand common injuries among athletes in each sport and to determine whether injury prevention programs were being utilized. Design: Cross-sectional, survey study. Setting: The 2016 US Paralympic trials for swimming, cycling, and athletics. Participants: Athletes who competed in swimming, cycling, and/or athletics at the 2016 US Paralympic trials (N = 144; 83 males and 61 females). Main Outcome Measures: Participants completed electronic survey using Qualtrics XM (Qualtrics, Provo, UT) with questions pertaining to average number of hours trained per week, number of cross-training hours performed each week, descriptive information regarding sport-related injuries, pain, whether athletes received treatment for injuries, and descriptive information regarding whether the athletes had participated in an injury prevention program. Results: Over 64% of respondents reported training greater than or equal to 11 hours per week, and 45% of athletes reported spending greater than or equal to 6 hours per week cross-training. Forty-two percent of athletes reported currently having pain with 34% reporting missing a competition because of injury. Only 24% of respondents reported having participated in an injury prevention program. Conclusions: Many Para sport athletes train at similar durations as able-bodied counterparts and have pain that interferes with their ability to train and compete, however, only a small percentage consistently perform injury prevention programs.

Harrington is with the Department of Exercise Science, Physical Therapy Program, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA. McQueeney is with the Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA. Fearing is with the Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA.

Harrington (sharring@mailbox.sc.edu) is corresponding author.

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