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HHP Research Shows Wheelchair Rugby Lowers Depression and Stress in Spinal Cord Injury Patients

A new study from the Department of Health and Human Performance has found that frequent participation in wheelchair rugby is associated with lower levels of depression and stress among men with tetraplegia. The results of the study by HHP graduate student Stephanie Silveira and HHP faculty Dr. Daphne Hernandez, Dr. Tracey Ledoux and Dr. Michael Cottingham were published in the journal Spinal Cord.

The study, funded by TIRR Memorial Hermann found that while about half of all spinal cord injury patients suffer from symptoms of psychological distress, just 17 percent of the 150 wheelchair rugby players who participated in the study had symptoms. Furthermore, athletes who practiced wheelchair rugby two or more times per week scored significantly lower on depression and stress tests compared to those who practiced once a week or less.

UH News

Below is an excerpt from a UH news article featuring the study.

“It’s such a unique sport, and there’s so much camaraderie where participants come together in a safe environment with people just like them,” said Stephanie Silveira, UH graduate student and lead study author. “The teammates help each other with not only how to play, but with different life skills as well.”

“Participating in multiple wheelchair sports can be really expensive, so that’s not feasible for some. The great finding with this study is you can still have great results playing one sport two times a week. We met men who were totally transformed by playing the sport,” said researcher and assistant professor Daphne Hernandez, who worked on the study.

Read the entire article on the UH News website

Read the Study in Spinal Cord Journal

Learn more about Adapative Athletics at UH