Influence of sport participation on community integration and quality of life: a comparison between sport participants and non-sport participants with spinal cord injury.

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: To determine whether community integration and/or quality of life (QoL) among people living with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) are superior among sport participants vs non-sport participants.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. Participants/Methods: Persons (n=90) living in the community with SCI (ASIA Impairment Scale A-D), level C5 or below, > 15 years of age, >12 months postinjury, and requiring a wheelchair for >1 hours/day were divided into 2 groups based on their self-reported sport participation at interview: sport participants (n=45) and non-sport participants (n 5).

RESULTS: Independent-sample t tests revealed that both Community Integration Questionnaire (CIQ) and Reintegration to Normal Living Index (RNL) total mean scores were higher among sport participants vs nonsport participants (P < 0.05). Significant correlation between CIQ and RNL total scores was found for all participants (Pearson correlation coefficients, P < 0.01). Logistic regression analysis revealed that the unadjusted odds ratio of a high CIQ mean score was 4.75 (95% CI 1.7, 13.5) among current sport participants. Similarly, the unadjusted odds ratio of a high RNL score was 7.00 (95% CI 2.3, 21.0) among current sport participants. Regression-adjusted odds ratios of high CIQ and high RNL scores were 1.36 (95% CI 0.09, 1.45) and 0.15 (95% CI 0.04, 0.55), respectively. The odds ratio for pre-SCI sport participation predicting post-SCI sport participation was 3.06 (95% CI 1.23, 7.65).

CONCLUSIONS: CIQ and QoL scores were higher among sport participants compared to non-sport participants. There was an association between mean CIQ and RNL scores for both groups. Sport participants were 4.75 and 7.00 times as likely to have high CIQ and QoL scores. Both groups had a similar likelihood of high CIQ and RNL scores after adjusting for important confounders. Individuals who participated in sports prior to SCI were more likely to participate in sports post-SCI.