Organized Sports and Quality of Life in People With Neurologic Disabilities
Adults with a spinal cord injury who engaged in organized sports reported decreased depression and anxiety, increased life satisfaction, and increased opportunity for gainful employment compared with nonathletic persons with disabilities.
Sahlin, K. Barbara, and Lexell, Jan. (2015). Impact of Organized Sports on Activity, Participation, and Quality of Life in People With Neurologic Disabilities. PM&R (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation). In Press. doi:10.1016/j.pmrj.2015.03.019
Physical activity and exercise is the mainstay of chronic disease prevention and health maintenance for all people with and without a disability, and clear evidence exists of the benefits among various populations with neurologic disabilities. However, the potential benefits of organized sports for people with neurologic disabilities are not as well explored. In this narrative review, current evidence regarding the impact of organized sports on activity, participation, and quality of life in people with neurologic disabilities of all ages is summarized, and facilitators of and barriers to participation in sports for this population are discussed.
The articles reviewed were divided into 2 sets: (1) children and adolescents and (2) adults. The subjects of almost all of the studies were persons with a spinal cord injury. Children and adolescents with a disability who engaged in sports reported self-concept scores close to those of able-bodied athletes, as well as higher levels of physical activity. Adults with a spinal cord injury who engaged in organized sports reported decreased depression and anxiety, increased life satisfaction, and increased opportunity for gainful employment compared with nonathletic persons with disabilities. General facilitators, regardless of age, were fitness, fun, health, competence, and social aspects, whereas overall barriers were lack of or inappropriate medical advice and facilities, decreased self-esteem, poor finances, dependency on others, and views held by others. The importance of this topic for further research is highlighted, and suggestions for future studies are proposed.