Background: Studies have revealed a higher incidence of injury and illness among elite adaptive athletes when compared to non-disabled athletes in the Paralympics and Olympics. However, sport-specific health care incidence rates and patterns outside of the Paralympics have been poorly described. To date, there are no prospective studies focused on injury or illness rates among intercollegiate wheelchair basketball players. Objective: To determine the incidence of sports-related injuries and illnesses among men's and women's intercollegiate wheelchair basketball teams throughout a season. We hypothesized that injury rates among the intercollegiate wheelchair basketball players would be similar to or greater than those of previously published National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) nondisabled basketball players and that injuries would most commonly affect the upper extremities. Design: Prospective surveillance study. Setting: Men's and women's intercollegiate wheelchair basketball teams in Arlington, Texas. Participants: Twenty-eight (14 male, 14 female) of the 29 (15 male, 14 female) eligible adult athletes playing on an intercollegiate men's or women's wheelchair basketball team during the 2018-2019 season. Interventions: Completion of a repeatable, electronic, web-app injury and illness survey during the season, as well as separate pre- and post-season injury and illness surveys. Main Outcome Measures: Injury rates throughout the season based on athlete-exposures and relative risk (RR) of injury of intercollegiate wheelchair basketball players compared to NCAA nondisabled basketball players. Description of onset, location, diagnosis, medical evaluation, and missed time from sport related to injuries and illnesses. Results: Sixty-two health-related incidents, including 48 injuries and 14 illnesses, were prospectively reported during the season. Overall injury incidence rates were 12.2 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 7.4 to 17.4) and 13.1 (95% CI 7.8 to 18.4) injuries per 1000 athlete-exposures among male and female athletes, respectively. These equated to RRs of 1.53 (95% CI 1.03 to 2.27) (male) and 2.01 (95% CI 1.34 to 3.02) (female) when compared to the rates published previously on NCAA nondisabled basketball players, indicating a statistically significant increase in injury risk. Injuries most commonly involved the upper extremities (56.3%). Illnesses commonly involved the gastrointestinal (35.7%) or respiratory (21.4%) systems. Conclusions: This is the first prospective study to report incidence of sports-related injuries and illnesses throughout an intercollegiate wheelchair basketball season. Overall injury rates reported were higher than prior NCAA nondisabled intercollegiate basketball reports. This reinforces the need to establish an accessible network of health care support and injury prevention strategies for these athletes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Clinical Neurology