Survey of wheelchair athletic injuries: common patterns and prevention

Paraplegia. 1985 Jun;23(3):170-5. doi: 10.1038/sc.1985.29.


Twelve hundred wheelchair athletes were surveyed to determine commonly experienced athletic injuries, sports participation and training patterns associated with injuries. Soft tissue trauma, blisters, lacerations, decubiti and joint disorders were the most commonly reported injuries of the 128 respondents. Over 70 per cent of all reported injuries occurred during wheelchair track, road racing and basketball. Common mechanisms of injury were also identified. A significantly higher number of reported injuries were associated with increased sports participation (p less than 001), with the 21-30 year-old age group (p less than .01), and with a high number of training hours per week (p less than .05). There was no significant relationship between number of reported injuries and disability type, National Wheelchair Athletic Association classification, or sex. Decubitus ulcers and temperature regulation disorders were identified as particular risks for the spinal cord injury population. Educating the athlete and coach in means to prevent injury is necessary to promote optimal performance and safe participation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Blister / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joints / injuries
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraplegia / rehabilitation*
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Pressure Ulcer / etiology
  • Risk
  • Skin / injuries
  • Sports
  • Sprains and Strains / etiology
  • Tendon Injuries / etiology
  • Wheelchairs*