Sports injuries in athletes with disabilities: wheelchair racing

Paraplegia. 1995 May;33(5):296-9. doi: 10.1038/sc.1995.67.


This study investigates the incidence of sports injuries in athletes who participate in wheelchair racing in the UK. Wheelchair racing has been identified as one of the top 'injury risk' sports but little information is available as to the incidence or type of injury sustained by British athletes. A questionnaire was used to collect information about injuries sustained in the last 12 months. Members of the British Wheelchair Racing Association (BWRA) were sent questionnaires. Most subjects (72%) reported having at least one injury within the previous 12 months. Training variables such as the distance pushed per week (Mann-Whitney U = 61, P > 0.05), the amount of speed training (Mann-Whitney U = 110, P > 0.05), the number of weight training sessions (Mann-Whitney U = 26, P > 0.05) or the length of time the athlete had been involved in wheelchair racing (Mann-Whitney U = 103, P > 0.05) were not associated with the occurrence of an injury. Overuse injuries were common and recurred more often than other types of injuries (chi 2 = 3.95, P < 0.05). Those athletes with recurring injuries also tended to be those who restarted training before they were pain-free from their injury (chi 2 = 5.31, P < 0.05). There appears to be a link between overuse injuries, the presence of pain during training and the recurrence of injuries. A lack of knowledge about sports injuries, what causes them and what to do following an injury may contribute to the high incidence of overuse injuries in this group of athletes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Wheelchairs*