Aspects of sports injuries in athletes with visual impairment

Most research on sport injuries in disabled athletes uses a cross-disability (physical and sensorial) design and merges different sport modalities in the same study. This procedure creates difficulties in interpreting the results, since different disabilities and modalities may cause different injury conditions. The purpose of this study was to analyze the sports injuries frequency in visually impaired athletes, to identify the site of the injury, its mechanism, and the main injuries that occur to these athletes as well as to verify if the visual class relates to the sports injury frequency. The subjects were male and female visually impaired athletes, members of the Brazilian team of athletics, soccer 5, goalball, judo, and swimming, who played in international competitions between 2004 and 2008. Data was collected using the Brazilian Paralympic Committee and the Brazilian Confederation of Sports for the Blind medical form, which included the following information: name, age, modality, competition, visual classification (B1, B2, B3), injury type, location of injury, and diagnosis. A total of 131 athletes participated in this study: 42 female, 89 male amongst which 61 were B1, 46 B2, and 24 B3. From this total, 102 athletes reported 288 sports injuries; 2.82 injuries per athlete. Female athletes presented more injuries than male athletes; however, this difference did not show statistical significance. Regarding visual classification, B1 athletes got more injuries than B2 athletes, and these more than B3 athletes; statistically significant difference was found only between B1 and B3 group. As one group, athletes presented similar values between accident and overuse injuries. Concerning body segment, lower limbs showed more injuries, followed by upper limbs, spine, head, and trunk. Twenty-one diagnoses were reported, being tendinopathies, contractures, and contusions the most frequent.

visually impaired subjects; disabled; athletic injuries

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