As Canada shines at the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, the chiropractic profession continues to support the health of athletes and other volunteers alike. In fact, nearly 140 chiropractic volunteers are onsite supporting the Games this summer!

Often, chiropractors, as part of the healthcare team, not only help manage injuries but enhance athletic performance. Due to the intensive training and demands of competition, athletes may be more vulnerable to injury and rely on onsite services to ensure that they are able to perform when the time comes. In some cases, the problem may be a simple twinge or something more serious like joint dysfunction or strain-sprain; most injuries typically sustained are off the shoulders, elbow, wrist, and hand1. Yet, the management of Parapan Am athletes can be even more challenging due to some limitations, including the use of specialized equipment, and additional risks associated with their sport of choice. This is why having a trained and interdisciplinary team can be so valuable to address any issues as they arise.

Like most activities or even occupations, the risk for injuries depends on the demands of the sport or even the type of equipment used. Yet, the prevalence of back pain is still very high amongst athletes from all types of sports. According to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), athletes participating in a parasport were recorded to have an incidence rate of 12.7 injuries per 1,000 athlete days; the following sports were reported to have the highest incidence rates1:

  1. Football 5-a-side
  2. Powerlifting
  3. Goalball
  4. Wheelchair fencing
  5. Wheelchair rugby

Certain high-impact Parapan Am Games sports such as wheelchair rugby and football may put athletes at a greater risk for traumatic injuries or even concussions. Such acute injuries need to be assessed and managed immediately to try and prevent further complications. In many cases, the chiropractor will play a supportive role to other team members in terms of either providing diagnostic insight or managing associated musculoskeletal injury. Such settings permit a variety of healthcare providers to collaborate and care for athletes, resulting in an opportunity for interprofessional education and learning. All and all, team-based care, including chiropractors, not only improves health outcomes but also enhances how care is provided to our athletes. Such models truly exemplify the best in musculoskeletal care.

Stay Active and Strong

Similarly to our shining stars, Canadians can also benefit from the same care available to our athletes. The goal is to remain healthy, active and strong – and to do so can prevent injury that may limit our ability to do the things we love. Visit your chiropractor for more information on how they can help you stay active this summer. Consider doing something good for your health today, try the Straighten Up Canada app or visit Fit-in-15 to help stay active.

1. Lars Engebretsen, et. al, “Sports Injuries and Illness during the London Summer Olympic Games 2012,” British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2013; 47, 407,414.

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