Upcoming Paralympic summer games in Rio: What did the German medical team learn from the London Games?

Eva J. Kubosch*, Jürgen Kosel, Kathrin Steffen, Lukas Konstantinidis, David Kubosch, Norbert P. Südkamp, Anja Hirschmüller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Musculoskeletal complaints are frequently diagnosed in Paralympic athletes. Despite the increased professionalism in Paralympic Sports, the documentation of injuries and other health complaints during high-level competition is sparse. With respect to the upcoming Paralympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, the aim of this study was the analysis of all musculoskeletal complaints within the German Paralympic Athletes during the London 2012 Paralympic Games. METHODS: All musculoskeletal complaints (MSC) of the 150 German athletes seeking medical attention, hereby defined as "injury", were recorded during the in-competition period of the London Paralympics Games (22 days), regardless of their severity and consequences. Standardized documentation included the onset of symptoms, the medical diagnoses, the therapeutic measures taken as well as consecutive restrictions in training and competition. Incidence rates and localizations were analyzed by sports discipline. RESULTS: A total of 201 musculoskeletal complaints were recorded for 140 athletes (93.3%), corresponding to 1.4 musculoskeletal complaints per "injured" athlete. The incidence of musculoskeletal complaints in German athletes was 62.9±15.4/1000 athlete-days. High incidence rates (IR) were observed in wheelchair basketball (IR 72/1000 athlete-days, 1.6 injuries per athlete) and equestrian events (IR 72.7, 1.6). Musculoskeletal complaints were mainly located in the upper extremities (37.6%) and the spine (37.6%). The most frequent diagnoses were myalgia (N.=105, 52%). CONCLUSIONS: We noted a high rate of musculoskeletal complaints among German Paralympic athletes across sports and body parts, highlighting the need for prevention programs that focus on the upper extremities and spine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1486-1493
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:


  • Athletes
  • Disabled persons
  • Epidemiology
  • Musculoskeletal diseases
  • Wounds and injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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