Long-term disabilities and handicaps following sports injuries: outcome after outpatient treatment

Disabil Rehabil. 2003 Oct 21;25(20):1153-7. doi: 10.1080/0963828031000137757.


Purpose: The aim was to investigate whether long-term disabilities and handicaps arise from a sports injury requiring outpatient treatment and to identify the potential risk factors.

Method: A representative sample was taken from a population of patients treated as outpatients due to a sports injury. The selected patients were sent a questionnaire, 2-5 years after the injury.

Result: Thirty-nine percent of the patients studied were unable to work for up to 1 month after the injury, 19% were not able to work for up to 3 months and another 5% could not work for a maximum of 8 months. Participation in sporting activities was hampered for up to 1 year in 76% of the patients and 11% had not resumed sports participation at all. In addition, 20% of the population stated that they still suffered from disabilities and handicaps following the sports injury. The outcome of the SIP68 underlines these results. Nine percent of the patients had a sumscore larger than 0. The variables which could be identified as risk factors were the body region: knee and sex: female.

Conclusions: Sports injuries requiring outpatient treatment can lead to long-term disabilities and handicaps, especially in patients with knee injuries and injuries in women. On average these consequences are less severe than those associated with inpatients; however, this finding is of great value since the number of outpatients is much higher than in patients admitted to a hospital.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Risk Factors
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors