Background:Sports practice in high performance exposes athletes to higher risk of sports injuries. Changes in pattern of movement during training and competitions can also promote
the appearance of these injuries. During the last Paralympic Summer Games, in 2012, goalball was the sixth modality that had the highest quantitative of injuries. The presence of injuries can lead to
withdrawls of training and competitions, which results in prejudices of individual or collective performance, as well as financial losses. The objectives of this study were to verify the prevalence of
sports injuries, in addition to evaluate functional performance of upper limbs from goaball athletes from Brazilian National Team.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted, and individual functional assessments were performed with 11 athletes of Goalball Female Brazilian National Team at pre-season period.
Validate questionnaire was used to estimate the prevalence of injuries in the last 12 months, and it was also performed the functional assessment of upper limbs through Upper Quarter Y-Balance Test
(UQYBT) and Closed Kinetic Chain Upper Extremity Stability Test (CKCUEST). In UQYBT the athlete had to achieve the three largest distances (medial, súperolateral and inferolateral) using one upper
limb, while the other attempted to stabilize the movement. For the composite score, the sum of averages of the results reach were divided by the triple of the upper limb length and multiplied by 100.
In CKCUEST, athletes started the test from the push up position with a distance of 60 cm between hands. For 15 seconds it was registered how many times the subject reached the opposite hand. Data were
plotted and analyzed by comparison to normative data already standardized.
Results:The average age of the sample was 26.3 (SD=6.9; min=16 and max=39) years and all of the athletes have been training in high performance in the last six years. Regarding the
prevalence of injuries, results showed that 8 (72%) athletes reported some kind of injury in the last 12 months. When performing CKCUEST analysis, the average found was 28.5 touches (SD=3.4; min=23
and max=34). These values are above the reference values (22.9) and it indicates low injury risk (values below 21 indicate injury risk). However, UBYBT’s results showed that 10 athletes (91%) had
values below normality for the dominant limb, indicating less neuromuscular control for task performance. This findings may expose athletes to higher risk of sports injuries, and it can decrease
performance in training and competitions.
Conclusions:There is a lack of scientific papers showing reference values for paralympic athletes in many diferent functional tests. Data presented that athletes with some kind of
visual impairment have neuromuscular prejudices to execute functional tests, like CKCUEST and UQYBT. Due to this, these athletes become more exposed to risk of some type of upper limbs injuries. It’s
believed that individualized preventive programs might be important to reduce risks and to lead athletes to their better performance.