Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center

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Information about project titled 'YoungParaHealthy – Pilot project for lifelong participation in sports'

YoungParaHealthy – Pilot project for lifelong participation in sports

Details about the project - category Details about the project - value
Project status: Ongoing
Project manager: Hilde Moseby Berge
Coworker(s): Adeleide Charlotte Riise Bergsaker


Background: Even though many disabilities lead to an increased risk of illness and injuries, health within this group is rarely on the agenda either in sports politics or in coach education. In the project ParaHEALTHY (ParaFRISK), we have previously documented that Paralympic athletes were absent from training on average one month a year due to illness and injuries. These were elite athletes. We do not know what kind of health challenges (younger) athletes with disabilities face, or to what extent these are limiting factors for participation in recreational sports, education, working life or social activities.

Aims: The goal of YoungParaHEALTHY is to map current and previous illnesses, injuries and ailments, as well as follow-up in health service, participation in recreational sports, education and work, living conditions, use of public support schemes, etc., among young para-athletes.

Methods: We aim to recruit 200 athletes with impaired vision or movement who have been involved in sports for at least one year and are between 16 and 40 years old.  The athlete is invited to a health examination where they first complete a digital questionnaire via AthleteMonitoring. Shortly after, the athlete will be invited to an online consultation with a doctor. The athlete will receive individually tailored advice on the prevention and treatment of illness and injuries, and potentially other issues. If there is a desire or need for further follow-up, the athlete will be referred to their GP or hospital.

Implications: We believe that in the short term, the project will be useful for the individual participant who receives advice on prevention and referral for treatment when needed. Furthermore, we believe that dissemination of results at group level can contribute to greater understanding of health challenges in athletes with disabilities, which diseases and injuries require better treatment, and which support schemes more people can benefit from. 

In the next phase, we want to build on this project and follow athletes over time, test different injury prevention measures and treatment options, as well as collaborate with the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) on participation in working life and more equal utilization of support schemes.

In the long term, we believe increased knowledge about prevention and treatment can lead to better physical and mental health and less absence from activity.