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Adaptive Sports Found to Help Children With Disabilities After One Season

September 05, 2019

Kids participating in adaptive ski and snowboarding clinics reported better quality of life outcomes after one year, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal PALAESTRA, looked at 76 children with disabilities participating in outdoor winter sports to see what impact their participation may have on quality of life outcomes. Parents and child athletes were surveyed using KIDSCREEN-52, a survey that evaluates quality of life using metrics like mood, physical well-being, and others.

Researchers from several universities, including Assistant Professor David Frumberg, MD, of the Department Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, participated in the study. They said that while children with disabilities, in particular cerebral palsy, frequently participate in physical therapy and other interventional programs, the children often face other barriers to sports participation like “a lack of adaptive equipment, parental concerns, personal motivation, and poor availability of programs with adequate supervision.”

“The best part about caring for kids with mobility challenges is seeing the thrill on their faces as they come down the mountain, or while they participate in any activity they love,” Frumberg said. “There are many adaptive snow sports programs in New England and we always encourage kids to consider them. This work helps prove the many benefits of adaptive sports, including things that are less obvious.”

The researchers found that after just one season of participating in adaptive sports, families reported via a quality of life survey that their children had found a boost in peer and social support and reported decreased bullying incidents.

“A significant change in the athletes’ perception of their physical well-being occurred, as they were able to participate in a new, physically taxing activity,” the researchers wrote.

Submitted by Matt O'Rourke on September 05, 2019