177217 Young athletes with disabilities: What are their risks for injury?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 1:15 PM

Marizen Ramirez, PhD , Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Jingzhen Yang, PhD, MPH , Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Linda B. Bourque, PhD , Dept. of Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
John P. Javien, MPH , School of Medicine, University of California at Davis, Sacramento, CA
Saman Kashani, MSc , Riverside County Department of Public Health Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Branch, County of Riverside Department of Public Health, Riverside, CA
Mary Ann Limbos, MD, MPH , Pediatrics, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Corinne Peek-Asa, PhD, MPH , Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Introduction: Children with disabilities are finding increasing opportunities for sports participation at school. Risk of injury is inherent in sports. However, no research exists on the patterns of school sports injuries to young athletes with disabilities. The purpose of this study is to measure the frequency of and risk factors for injury to high school special athletes.

Methods: Eight special education high school teams part of an interscholastic sports league were followed for one season each of adapted basketball, field hockey, soccer and softball. We collected data on daily exposure sessions (game/practice/conditioning, length of session), athlete characteristics (disability, gender, age, seizure history, behavioral problems), and nature of injuries resulting in any type of medical treatment by the coach.

Results: 38 injuries were reported among 512 special athletes for a rate of 2.0/1000 athlete exposures. Soccer (3.7/1000) had the highest rate of injury. More than half the injuries were abrasions and contusions. Athletes with autism had over five times the injury rate of athletes with emotional/mental disabilities. Athletes with seizures also had three times the rates of injury compared with those with no seizure history.

Implications: We found that this interscholastic adapted sports program is a relatively safe activity for children with disabilities. Still, our findings have important implications for developing prevention strategies for athletes with autism and seizure histories who are at relatively higher risk for a sports injury.

Learning Objectives:
1. Measure the magnitude and describe the types of sports-related injuries among young athletes with disabilities. 2. Identify what types of athletes with disabilities have the highest risk for injury.

Keywords: Special Populations, Injury Risk

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI for the related project and serve as the first author for this manuscript.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.