Blind athletes can compete in a wide variety of sports including baseball, bowling,cycling, marathon, racing, track and field and wrestling. The events includemodification of some rules to facilitate participation by blind competitors.
The only specific sports medicine problem for the blind is related to falls. Falls on theoutstretched upper limbs are not uncommon, leading to the same types of fracturesand soft tissue injuries as in the able-bodies athletes. Sprains of the knee and ankleligaments are also not uncommon.
The Deaf Athlete
The deaf athlete’s hearing impairment is often the result of sensorineural deficitscaused through cochlear damage. Equilibrium deficits with a loss of balance and co-ordination may compound the athlete’s disability if there has been damage to thesemicircular canals or vestibular apparatus.2
The deaf athlete is not restricted and able to participate in any sport available to theable bodied.
Major dangers arise from a lack of audible warnings and potential slowness incommunication. Apart from serious trauma consequent upon these problems thereis
little evidence to suggest
that the injuries sustained by the deaf differsignificantly fro those of the able-bodied.
The deaf athletes may compensation by
maximizing their visual abilities
throughtraining powers of observation and peripheral vision.
Athletes with Physical DisabilitySpinal Cord Injuries
When the spinal cord is damaged, there is a loss of motor and sensory functionbelow the level of the spinal cord lesion. The extent of the motor and sensory lossdepends upon this level as well as upon the degree of damage of the spinal cord.
at the level of the cervical region,
at the thoracicregion and
at the level of the lumbar region.
The majority of athletes with spinal cord injury are wheelchair dependent, thusgiving them the label
Athletes with spinal cord injury compete in many sports, but track and field andswimming are the most popular (Fig. 2). Other competitive sports for such athletesinclude archery, basketball, fencing and marathon racing.
The low levels of physical activity in the wheelchair athlete predispose them to: