Paralympic medicine describes the health-care issues of those 4500 or so athletes who gather every 4 years to compete in 20 sports at the Summer Paralympic Games and in five sports at the Winter Paralympic Games. Paralympic athletes compete within six impairment groups: amputation or limb deficiencies, cerebral palsy, spinal cord-related disability, visual impairment, intellectual impairment, or a range of physically impairing disorders that do not fall into the other classification categories, known as les autres. The variety of impairments, many of which are severe, fluctuating, or progressive disorders (and are sometimes rare), makes maintenance of health in thousands of Paralympians while they undertake elite competition an unusual demand on health-care resources. The increased physical fitness of athletes with disabilities has important implications for cardiovascular risk reduction in a population for whom the prevalence of risk factors can be high.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.