Active and Engaged: Preparing the Mobility User for Adapted Sports

For immediate release: September 16, 2015

Whether prompted by the changing healthcare environment from volume to value, Population Health, Healthy People 2020, celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act, increased prime time television coverage of Paralympic Sports, or the request of your client to return to a once-loved sport or participate in a new leisure sport, rehabilitation professionals are showing an increased interest and participation in adapted sports as a tool for remediating deficits, restoring function, and improving overall health. Adapted sports and recreation has well-established roots in therapeutic recreation due to the proven benefits in the areas of community reintegration, improvements to activities of daily living, and social integration. Increasingly, occupational therapists and physical therapists are incorporating it into inpatient and outpatient therapy treatment plans and discharge recommendations.

According to the United States Census Bureau in 2010, approximately 56 million people living in the US have a disability. Of these, approximately 30.6 million have difficulty walking or climbing stairs, or use a wheelchair, cane, crutches, or walker. Individuals who have sustained injuries, such as amputation, spinal cord injury, or brain injury or medical conditions, such as stroke, are at a greater risk for developing secondary medical conditions such as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity due to limitations in their mobility status. Additionally, due to changes in their lifestyle, they are at increased risk for depression and social isolation. Despite the abundance of studies regarding the positive impact of physical activity, less than 38% of individuals with a disability follow recommended levels of physical activity, compared to 49% of US adults without a disability.1 Barriers to participation for individuals with a disability include mobility limitations, physiologic decline, lack of access or awareness of accessible physical activity programs, and lack of transportation.

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