A Comparison of Self-Reported Unmet Healthcare Needs among Adaptive and Able-Bodied Athletes

Lindsay Ramey*, Todd Hayano, Daniel H Blatz, Marissa Gedman, Cheri Blauwet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Studies have revealed a higher incidence of injury and illness among elite adaptive athletes when compared to able-bodied athletes in competition. However, individuals with disabilities report poorer access to health care. Objective: The purpose of this study is to identify differences in healthcare access, satisfaction, and unmet needs between recreational adaptive and able-bodied athletes in all sports and within a single sport (hockey). Design: Cross-sectional, survey-based study. Setting: Recreation sports programs in Boston, MA and Chicago, IL. Participants: Adult, recreational, competitive adaptive, and able-bodied athletes. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measure(s): The Short-Form Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (PSQ-18) for healthcare access and satisfaction; percentage of athletes reporting unmet sports-related healthcare needs in the prior year. Results: Sixty adaptive athletes (78% male, age 35.7 ± 12.4 years) and 65 able-bodied athletes (40% male, age 34.9 ± 11.9 years) participated. Mean access and satisfaction scores were not significantly different between groups in all sports (P =.53 and P =.19, respectively) or hockey (P =.28 and P =.55, respectively). Unmet needs were more commonly reported among adaptive athletes (18.3% all sports, 20.0% hockey) as compared to able-bodied athletes (9.2% all sports, 4.0% hockey). This reached statistical significance in the hockey group (P =.03), but not all sports (P =.12). Conclusions: No differences were seen between groups in healthcare access or satisfaction scores. Adaptive athletes of the same sport reported a higher rate of unmet sports-related healthcare needs but with few doctor's visits in the preceding year, suggesting discrepancies in expectations and healthcare-seeking behavior. Level of Evidence: III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
JournalPM and R
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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