Spinal cord injuries

Nutrition recommendations currently used in sport for those with an impairment are primarily based upon data from able-bodied (AB) athletes, but these are almost certainly not directly transferable to athletes with a spinal cord injury (SCI). This chapter is designed to raise the awareness of those working with persons with SCI and should enable the reader to understand how to apply their nutrition knowledge to this population. The chapter starts with a description of the physiological consequences of SCI and factors associated with energy expenditure at rest and during exercise. Moreover, since gastric emptying is affected by SCI, then the ability to absorb nutrients, supplements and medications along the intestine may be affected, so the current knowledge in this area is discussed. Caution should be exhibited when accepting nutrition recommendations developed for AB athletes, and adaptations are often required. The authors provide insights based upon the current literature and highlight practical examples.