Disability sports injury

Disability sports injury; systematic review of disability sports injury epidemiology, disability football injury incidence, baseline concussion testing in disability football, perceptions of injury in disability football and concussion guideline development.

Project supervisor

Evert Verhagen
Contactgegevens: e.verhagen@vumc.nl

Project team

The project team is composed by Richard Weiler (MD), supervised by Evert Verhagen (Associate Professor), Willem van Mechelen (Professor), and Colin Fuller (PhD)

Project description

This project aims to gain further insight into disability sport and disability football. Currently there is very little literature to guide medical professionals caring for athletes with disability, which renders management of sports injuries for athletes with disability challenging.

The project consist of 5 subprojects, of which the first will systematically review prospective epidemiological studies of sports injuries in disability sports, which will define what is known, scope and limitations associated with disability sports injuries.

The second part will prospectively analyse the incidence of sports injuries in various forms of disability football over 2-3 years and compare this with able bodied groups, male and female and at different age ranges. The main participants for comparison will include the England blind and cerebral palsy football teams, with a sub focus on head injury incidence compared with able bodied football, per hours of exposure. The hypothesis being that there are different injury patterns and risk factors for disability football compared with able bodied football.

The third part will analyse across all England football teams, baseline Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3 (SCAT3) screening, with a particular analytical focus on each area of testing and statistical differences between different athlete disability groups and able bodies athletes as controls. This part will analyse the validity of this form of baseline testing for sub groups of the population, for whom, certain areas of baseline testing may be challenging.

The fourth project will qualitatively analyse different opinions and attitudes of players and coaches within disability football to the concept of overuse injuries and playing football with these injuries. Furthermore, this project will analyse the opinions of athletes and their coaches, whom have sustained major head injuries and continue to play football and their attitudes towards concussion.

The fifth project will be guided by the findings of previous papers and bring together experts for a consensus meeting, from disability sport and head injury research to develop concussion guidelines specific to disability sport.