Paralympian athletes are exposed to tremendous physical and emotional stress during training and competition, and athletes with spinal cord injury (SCI) have unique disadvantages during competition. One of these disadvantages is unstable blood pressure control. On a daily basis, individuals with SCI deal with either extremely low resting blood pressure, and/or uncontrolled episodes of high blood pressure. The latter is called autonomic dysreflexia (AD). Low blood pressure and a poor response from the heart results in significant fatigue and presents a serious problem for athletes during both training and competition. In contrast to low blood pressure, AD is a life-threatening situation whereby individuals with cervical and upper thoracic injuries experience a drastic increase in blood pressure. If left untreated, AD can lead to bleeding in the brain and/or death.
ICORD researcher Dr. Andrei Krassioukov is an expert in AD, and has just received funding from the Craig Neilsen Foundation to bring evidence-based clinical knowledge and crucial practical information on unstable arterial blood pressure control among athletes with SCI to Paralympians and their coaches at Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Paralympic Games.
This project is a collaboration between clinicians and scientists from ICORD, individuals with SCI in the BC Wheelchair Sports Association and former Paralympic athletes. For more information, see this page.
This project has been approved by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and recently received financial support from The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation.