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Milwaukee VA doctors publish first book on wheelchair athletes and concussions

"Since there was nothing out there, people are not as aware, so we wanted to share that awareness"
Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Wheelchair Rugby
Posted at 6:27 AM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 07:28:06-05

MILWAUKEE — Wheelchair athletes are just as susceptible to concussions as players in traditional sports. Treatment in parasports has been scarce - but doctors at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center are filling that gap in research with a new book about wheelchair athletes and concussions.

“Concussion Management for Wheelchair Athletes” aims at developing educational programs about concussion management for wheelchair athletes.

Dr. Ken Lee, head of the Spinal Cord Injury Center at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, collaborated with other VA doctors on the project. Lee said in a news release about the book that it's the first book on concussions for such athletes.

"Since there was nothing out there, people are not as aware, so we wanted to share that awareness," Lee said.

One of the issues wheelchair athletes found is that most concussion testing requires the person to be standing. Initial signs of a concussion include stumbling and loss of balance - symptoms wheelchair athletes might not experience.

VA doctors involved in the book discovered a wheelchair scoring system akin to a balance scoring system, requiring the person to do a wheelie in the wheelchair. That led to a thorough test that was ultimately used at the National Veteran Wheelchair Games in 2019.

The book is meant for anyone involved in wheelchair athletics, including players, coaches, families and supporters.

You can learn more about the book on the VA's website here. You can read the book for yourself here.

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