Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Yetsa Tuakli-Wosornu


PURPOSE: To describe the injury epidemiology of Para powerlifters during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (RPG).

METHODS: This cohort study was a sub-analysis of the WEB-IISS carried out by the IPC Medical Committee. The WEB-IISS survey was completed daily by the Chief Medical Officers of each National Paralympic Committee (NPC). Main outcome measures were injury incidence rate (IR; number of injuries per 1000 athlete-days) and injury incidence proportion (IP; number of injuries per 100 athletes). After the competition, a survey assessed the available clinical resources of each NPC.

RESULTS: 180 athletes participated in the time period; injuries for 141 athletes with their own medical support were recorded during the 10-day period, accounting for 1410 athlete competition-days of exposure. Overall IR was 15.6/1000 athlete days (95% CI; 9.61 – 21.59). Most injuries were from chronic overuse (63.6%). The most commonly injured anatomical region was the shoulder (45.5%; IR=7.09). There were no significant differences in injury patterns between male and female powerlifters [IRR=0.78 (95% CI; 0.36 – 1.69), p-value = 0.6993]. The oldest age group (35-75) had the highest injury incidence rate [IR=21.8 (95% CI; 12.63 – 30.96). There was no significant difference in IP among lighter compared with heavier athletes. Of 34 NPCs, the majority of federations (91.6% – 95.8%) felt their powerlifters have access to sports medicine doctors or sports-medicine-trained clinicians who could implement and/or direct injury prevention protocols.

CONCLUSIONS: The information obtained in this study supports the need for injury prevention protocol development in this high-risk Para sport.


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