A major study of health, injuries and illnesses which effect paracanoe athletes is being undertaken by the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH) and the International Canoe Federation.

The groundbreaking 12-month study comes at a time when paracanoe is enjoying incredible growth around the world, and ahead of the Tokyo Paralympic Games where the sport will make its second appearance.

The chairman of the ICF’s paracanoe committee, John Edwards, said the study should identify ways to make the sport even safer and extend the careers of athletes.

“In order to be able to compete and perform on an international level, an athletes needs to be healthy and free from injury,” Mr Edwards said.

“There is very little research about health, illnesses and injuries among internationally competing paracanoe athletes. Our research aims to find out more about athlete health, illnesses and injuries, which will include pre-participation health evaluations among paracanoe athletes worldwide.

“The goal is to look for injury and illness prevalence patterns in paracanoe athletes in order to develop prevention strategies.”

GIH and the ICF will gather information through electronic questionnaires sent out to international athletes and physicians caring for paracanoe athletes. Answers will be anonymous and confidential.