Introduction to Injury Prevention

Recommendations for Coaches

Evaluate your athletes for injury

  • Pre participation physical exams
  • Keep medical histories on file
  • Use extraordinary judgment determining when injured athletes should not participate
  • Get to know your athletes. Many will not disclose pain/injury for fear of not getting to play
  • Get both medical and parental approval for return to participation
  • When collecting athlete information, be sure to record the athlete’s primary and secondary disability

Important Factors for Injury Prevention

  • Teaching proper mechanics
  • Proper fitting equipment
  • Slowly increase training time and intensity
  • A good warm up and cool down
  • Educating the athlete on taking care of their body

Common Issues to be Aware of

  • Overuse injuries
  • Dehydration
  • Heat illness
  • Cold injury
  • Acclimatization
  • Seizures
  • Pressure Ulcers
  • Prosthetics and Orthotics
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Brittle Bones
  • Concussions

Athletes who use Sports Chairs

  • Most common injuries are strains and muscular injuries of upper extremities
  • Overuse injuries
  • Fractures of hands from falls and collisions
  • Overdevelopment of anterior muscles, weakness of posterior muscles

Autonomic Disreflexia: a sudden onset of excessively high blood pressure. It is very common in athletes with spinal cord injuries.

Causes Include: 

  • Full bladder
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Constipation
  • Sores, cuts, burns
  • Ingrown toe nail
  • Points of contact with hard/sharp object

Symptoms Include: 

  • High blood pressure
  • Low heart rate
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Severe pounding headache
  • Sweating above the level of injury
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Flushing of skin
  • Bradycardia

Prevention Strategies: 

  • Once pain stimulus is removed, symptoms typically resolve

Pressure Ulcers: an open wound on the skin. Most common in athletes with paralysis or athletes unable to move themselves

Prevention Strategies:

  • Clean, dry clothes
  • Repositioning, skin checks
  • Balanced, nutritional diet
  • Proper breaks during activity

Cold Injury: inability to adapt to the cold

  • Less sensitive to the sensation of cold on the skin surface
  • Diminished perception of skin temperature change
  • Diminished capability to stabilize core temperature
  • Unable to induce shiver response

Prevention Strategies: 

  • Educate athletes and coaches on recognition and treatment
  • Provide rewarming opportunities
  • maintain proper hydration and food intake; wear proper clothing

Athletes with Amputations

Concerns: Risk for skin irritation or breakdown with prosthetics
Prevention: Use appropriate padding and friction eliminating material

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) & Cognitive Impairments

  • May fatigue more quickly
  • Injuries related to not being able to process instruction
  • Unpredictable behaviors (known triggers)

Prevention Strategies:

  • Wear protective equipment
  • Ensure all equipment is maintained
  • Deliver instruction broken down into more steps (one at a time)
  • Provide schedule and other key instructions in writing wherever possible
  • Allow time out’s, but frequently check in with athlete and try and re-engage

Osteogenesis Imperfecta: fractures/breaks

Prevention Strategies: Low impact exercise improves bone density

Athletes with Cerebral Palsy

  • Seizures relatively common in this population
  • Increase in lactic acid production leads to muscle fatigue
  • Wheelchair users have higher upper extremity strains, sprains, overuse
  • Ambulatory athletes have more knee injuries

Athletes with Visual Impairment

  • No visual cues
  • May have different biomechanics
  • May expend more energy because of lack of visual cues (watch for earlier fatigue and overuse injuries)


Table of contents

%d bloggers like this: