BRINGING SCIENCE TO TREATMENT

Working with Athletes with Disability in Rehabilitation

Wheelchair Rugby –  Kazuhiko Kanno (L) of Japan holds a national flag as he celebrates with his teammates after winning bronze medals. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

In the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’, the Paralympic Games are on the horizon, and athletes are preparing to take the stage to showcase their capabilities to the world. Paralympians inspire individuals of all abilities to reach for their dreams despite insurmountable odds. Furthermore, the Paralympic Games can increase the participation and opportunities of athletes with disabilities (AWD) to take part in exercise and organized sport.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) defines para-athletes as anyone whose impairment impacts their sports participation. Athletes must meet the minimum disability criteria and be classified according to the impact of their disability to participate in the Paralympic Games.

Whether in recreation or competition, athletes with disabilities may suffer injuries. They may then seek medical assistance for their injury and rehabilitation back to the sport. Sean Fyfe and Andrew Hamilton provide insight into working with AWD and how clinicians can best care for athletes; this includes eight fundamental principles. The rehabilitation of an AWD may be a challenge, and understanding their physical and psychological attributes is paramount to a successful outcome.

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