The effectivness of an adapted physical activity program in the rehabilitation of persons with spinal cord injury2013-05-16
Aim: The aim of the study was to determine and evaluate the impact of an adapted physical activity program on persons with spinal cord injury in the ambulatory rehabilitation stage.
Materials and Methods: The study group comprised 92 wheelchair users with spinal cord injury (men) who had taken part in a two-week adapted physical activity program in the Landscape Therapy and Recreation Centre under the Paraplegic Association in Monciskes during the period 2009 to 2011. The participants were divided into three groups according to level of injury: 25 people with cervical spinal cord injury, 41 people with thoracic spinal cord injury, 26 people with lumbar spinal cord injury. All subjects had suffered a complete spinal cord injury (ASIA-A). The age of the subjects ranged from 18 to 42 years old, and none had longer than a two-year history of spinal cord injury. During the rehabilitation process, the following skills were practised: wheelchair control, daily living skills, physical conditioning and strength training. At the beginning and at the end of the rehabilitation period, daily living skills, wheelchair control skills and physical capacity were checked using the Functional Independene Measure (FIM) test  for evaluating daily living skills, the wheelchair control skills test  for evaluating movements with the wheelchair and the physical features test [11, 12] for evaluating physical capacity.
Results: After comparing the values at the beginning and end of the program, participants with various spinal cord injury levels showed a significant increase in the following parameters: personal hygiene, bathing, transferring to bed, chair, wheelchair, toilet and shower. Most wheelchair control and overcoming obstacles skills showed significant improvement after adapted physical activity program for persons with various spinal cord injury levels: safe falling, maintaining balance, overcoming larger obstacles, overcoming “railings”, climbing on platforms (low, average and high), going uphill and downhill, climbing upstairs, going downstairs backwards and going downstairs while keeping their balance. All test results improved after the adapted physical activity program for persons with various spinal cord injury levels.
Conclusions: The study confirms that the adapted physical activity program had a positive influence on the daily living skills, wheelchair control skills and physical capacity of disabled persons with spinal cord injury.
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Jason Roberts, Eduardo Savine Mayr, Dominik Rymer, Bartosz Zielski