Health care providers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Sports and Exercise Medicine and UAB volunteers performed first-of-their-kind physicals for the United States of America Wheelchair Rugby athletes. These exams offered a new comprehensive approach to injury prevention on the same level that is offered to other professional and elite-level athletic teams, gaining attention from the International Paralympic Committee for the addition of two new tests adapted for Paralympic athletes.
“As physicians, it is our duty to ensure that all athletes, regardless of their level of visibility or perceived importance, receive the care and attention they need to perform at their best,” said UAB Sports and Exercise Medicine Department Chair Irfan Asif, M.D.
Instead of just doing the typical physical tests during the pre-participation exams, the athletes also took two new comprehensive medical tests adapted for paralympic athletes: an acceleration/velocity test and a reaction time test. Both tests can help assess the athletes’ strength and timing in high-intensity environments like wheelchair rugby. The UAB Sports and Exercise Medicine team collaborated with USA Wheelchair Rugby athletic trainers to implement both tests.
“Through our comprehensive pre-participation physical examinations, we are not only helping the USA Wheelchair Rugby team stay at the top of their game, but also sending a message that all athletes, regardless of their ability, are worthy of our care and attention,” Asif said. “Let us use this as inspiration to advocate for and provide comprehensive care to all athletes, no matter their background or circumstance.”
Source : UAB