The challenges and rewards of Paralympic medicine

July 5, 2012

In the Lancet paper, "Paralympic medicine," Nick Webborn of the British Paralympic Association and Peter Van de Vliet of the International Paralympic Committee Medical and Scientific Department, outline some of the issues that arise for health-care professionals when maintaining health in elite athletes with a variety of impairments.

They point out that the complex mix of medical issues among Paralympic athletes can be challenging for health-care providers and event medical staff, and call for increased awareness of Paralympians' health needs among . They also call for more research into the long-term potential for injuries caused by the latest prosthetic technologies, with very little scientific understanding currently available of the types of injuries and stresses that these technologies may cause.

The authors also examine the issue of performance enhancement in Paralympic athletes, with some practices – such as Botulinum toxin being used to control spasticity in athletes with Cerebral palsy – resulting in athletes' classification altering. The danger of voluntary inducement of autonomic dysreflexia – where athletes with spinal injuries give themselves a painful stimulus to trigger a reaction that results in performance-enhancing high blood pressure – is also highlighted.

"Provision of health care for Paralympic is probably the most challenging and rewarding area of sports medicine," say the authors. "The complex mix of medical issues can be challenging for health-care providers and medical staff at the events, and the medical needs of the athlete group need to be understood and trained appropriately."

Explore further: Kids who specialize in one sport may have higher injury risk

More information: www.thelancet.com/series/sports-and-exercise-medicine

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Older people getting smarter, but not fitter

August 31, 2015

Older populations are scoring better on cognitive tests than people of the same age did in the past —a trend that could be linked to higher education rates and increased use of technology in our daily lives, say IIASA population ...

Higher intelligence score means better physical performance

August 14, 2015

New research reveals a distinct association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent midlife physical performance. The higher intelligence score, the better physical performance, the study reveals. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.