Community-based organizations (CBOs) offer adaptive sport (AS) programs for people with spinal cord injury (SCI) that provide physical and psychosocial benefits through promoting full participation. To improve the range and effectiveness of their programming, some AS CBOs have established partnerships with researchers. To better understand the impact of partnerships within these organizations, this study aimed to identify Canadian SCI AS CBOS that currently engage in research partnerships and determine if there are differences in the types of sports offered by organizations that do/don't partner.
An environmental scan was conducted to identify Canadian SCI CBOs. CBOs offering AS were extracted and categorized by level of sport offered: (novice, intermediate, or elite/parasport). From those AS programs, mention/use of research and level/nature of research partnerships were extracted and analyzed.
Seventy-three SCI CBOs were identified, thirty-five offered AS of which 19 had research partnerships. Partnership activities included support of participant recruitment and knowledge translation for community members. AS programming for CBOs with partnerships offered a wider variety/number of sports than CBOs with no partnerships. The level of sport offered varied by all AS SCI CBOs.
AS SCI CBOs with research partnerships seem to offer a wider variety of sports compared to those without research partnerships. This finding may be explained by research partners helping to inform the SCI AS CBOs of research evidence to make improves in their services. Further research is needed to evaluate how engaging in research partnerships improve the services being offered by SCI AS CBOs.