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Medical and Musculoskeletal Concerns for the Wheelchair Athlete

A Review of Preventative Strategies

Dutton, Rebecca A., MD

Current Sports Medicine Reports: January 2019 - Volume 18 - Issue 1 - p 9–16
doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000560
Head, Neck, and Spine: Section Articles

Adaptive sports refers to organized sporting activities that are practiced by individuals with disabilities and are worthwhile to maintain physical and psychological health. As adaptive sports participation continues to rise, health care providers must have an enhanced understanding of injury and illness patterns specific to the adaptive athlete. Early recognition and prevention are important to ensure safe and successful participation in sport. The present review aims to provide a framework for diagnosis and prevention of common conditions specific to the wheelchair athlete. In particular, autonomic dysreflexia, impaired thermoregulation, urinary tract infection, and pressure injuries, as well as shoulder pain, upper-extremity entrapment neuropathies, and osteoporotic fractures will be discussed.

University of New Mexico, Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation

Address for correspondence: Rebecca Dutton, MD, Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, MSC 10-5600, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131; E-mail:

The author declares no conflicts of interest and does not have any financial disclosures.

Copyright © 2019 by the American College of Sports Medicine.