Risk Factors for the Development of Shoulder Pain in Elite Sled Hockey Players

Jacqueline Spangenberg, Ryan Nussbaum, Liqi Chen, Prakash Jayabalan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Shoulder pain is one of the most common injuries in adaptive athletes. There are minimal prior studies that investigate shoulder pain prevalence and associated risk factors in sled hockey players. Objective: To characterize the prevalence of shoulder pain in elite-level adaptive sled hockey athletes and identify associated risk factors. Design: Cross-sectional observational study. Setting: 2019 USA Sled Hockey Classic in Chicago, IL from 7 February 2019 to 10 February 2019. Participants: Eighty-two elite sled hockey athletes who participated in a nationally sanctioned sports event. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome of the study was to describe the experience of shoulder pain using player-reported outcomes of pain including: binary (yes/no) pain reporting in the last month, Performance-Corrected Wheelchair User's Shoulder Pain Index (PC-WUSPI) reporting pain in the last week, and Visual Analog Scale (VAS) reporting pain in the last month. Associations were assessed between the measurements of pain and characteristics of participants. Results: Of all participants, 70.5% endorsed shoulder pain in the last month. The average VAS for the past month was 2.13 and average PC-WUSPI for the past week was 15.46. Statistically significant associations were found between endorsement of pain in the last month and specific correlative factors including increased weight (P value.008; odds ratio [OR] 1.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-1.07) and increased duration of manual wheelchair use (P-value.002; OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.04-1.22). Conclusion: Elite-level sled hockey athletes commonly report experiencing shoulder pain. There is evidence that an elite-level sled hockey player's weight and longer duration of manual wheelchair use are both associated with a greater likelihood for self-reporting shoulder pain rather than number of years of playing the sport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1392-1398
Number of pages7
JournalPM and R
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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