Sharma C1, Barth CA2
1International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), Physical Rehabilitation Program, Delhi, India, 2International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), Geneva, Switzerland

Background: The popularity of adaptive sports gained momentum when Indian para-athletes won four medals at Summer Paralympics in Rio in 2016 and secured the best ever haul for the country. As per the Census 2011, in India out of total population of 1.21 billion, over 5.4 million people have a physical disability. With a huge potential to develop sports for all, the Government of India has also been promoting and supporting sports for persons with disabilities (PwDs).
The significance of physiotherapy is well established in sports, and similarly adaptive sports also require physiotherapist to identify training needs and work upon various fitness components to maximise health benefits and improve performance. The physiotherapist plays a pivotal role in rehabilitation, classification, injury prevention and management & sports specific training in a sports medicine team for recreational and competitive parasports.

Purpose: To initiate and develop a training model for physiotherapists in adaptive sports in India

Methods: The physical rehabilitation programme (PRP) of the ICRC in India aimed at a wider objective of increasing access to physical rehabilitation services including physiotherapy and promotion of inclusion of PwDs through sports, apart from developing physiotherapy in the adaptive sports. The following steps were taken to integrate physiotherapy in parasports:
- Collaboration with the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) and Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India (WBFI) to build capacity of physiotherapists in classifying athletes with disabilities in wheelchair basketball and para-athletics.
- Providing support to WBFI in conducting a symposium for the state wheelchair basketball associations emphasising training needs of players including disability specific medical issues, importance of health screening, education on prevention strategies, use of safe equipment, injury management, nutritional status and fluid intake.
- Organising a development camp for women wheelchair basketball players in collaboration with the WBFI encompassing various physiotherapy interventions, use of appropriate sports wheelchairs and prevention of pressure sores for the coaches and players.

Results: With the cumulative efforts of PCI and WBFI since 2015, about 40 physiotherapists have been trained in classification in wheelchair basketball and 7 physiotherapists have been trained in para-athletics.
Participation in development camps and symposiums has further helped in creating awareness on the role of physiotherapy among players, coaches and other stakeholders, apart from encouraging active involvement of PwDs in sports.
Being at the nascent stage of development, more training programmes by concerned institutions and organisations at regional, state and national levels are required to create a technical pool of professionals on one hand. On other hand, such training programmes can help to take adaptive sports to the grassroots.

Conclusion(s): Being an emerging field of practice, it is imperative for physiotherapists to build their capacities in adaptive sports. Creating awareness about the relevance of physiotherapy in adaptive sports among PwDs, medical and paramedical professionals and other stakeholders is equally important. For this, strategic planning and engagement with concerned institutions and organisations associated with adaptive sports, physiotherapy association, hospitals and government bodies is required.

Implications: Physiotherapy academic institutions to consider specialised courses in adaptive sports at post-graduate level

Keywords: Rehabilitation, Adaptive sports, Persons with disabilities

Funding acknowledgements: None

Topic: Disability & rehabilitation; Service delivery/emerging roles; Education

Ethics approval required: No
Institution: WCPT
Ethics committee: WCPT
Reason not required: As indicated in the WCPT website that abstracts which address new and unique developments in practice, theory, education, management, policy and resources may not require ethical approval. However approval from the ICRC and partner organisations quoted in the abstract have been taken.

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

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