Adaptive Sports Medicine Clinic

What Are Adaptive Sports?

There are so many benefits to participating in a sport. Building strength, coordination and endurance. Promoting focus, discipline, socialization and teamwork. And just plain having fun. But people with physical disabilities often find themselves on the sidelines, thinking they can’t get in the game.

Adaptive sports use modified equipment and techniques to remove the barriers that keep people with disabilities from taking part in traditional sports.

Adaptive sports medicine is a specialty within sports medicine that focuses on meeting the unique needs of athletes with disabilities.

About the Adaptive Sports Medicine Clinic

Michigan Medicine’s Adaptive Sports Medicine Clinic provides specialized care and consultation for athletes of all abilities participating in adaptive sports — from “weekend warriors” to elite competitors. The clinic provides medical evaluations and recommendations to people considering taking up an adaptive sport, and supports those already involved in adaptive sports, providing strategies to participate safely and treatment and rehabilitation for sports-related injuries.

Clinic Leadership

Physician Medicine and Rehabilitation specialist Melissa Tinney, M.D., has clinical experience in spinal cord injury, amputation care, comprehensive wound care and musculoskeletal medicine, and specific expertise in adaptive sports evaluation and equipment prescription. 

Dr. Tinney has served on the National Medical Team for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games and is an executive board member of the University of Michigan Adaptive and Inclusive Sports Experience (UMAISE).  

Who We Serve

Patients with a wide variety of physical and neurological disabilities can access the resources of our clinic to help them begin to participate in or continue to enjoy an adaptive sport.

Common conditions include:

  • Polytrauma
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Amputation
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuromuscular weakness
  • Stroke
  • Cerebral palsy

Services We Offer

  • Comprehensive medical evaluation
  • Treatment of adaptive sports-related injuries
  • Guidance on physical activity and adaptive sports participation  
  • Adaptive sports equipment evaluations and prescriptions
  • Coordination with competitive and therapeutic adaptive sports programs
  • Coordination of care with other physical medicine and rehabilitation services, including wheelchair seating, prosthetics and orthotics, and rehabilitation engineering

What to Expect in a Clinic Appointment

We take a comprehensive approach to understanding your diagnosis and how it might impact participation in adaptive sports.


We begin with a physical evaluation similar to a sports medicine physical, reviewing your medical history, current medications and allergies and assessing your heart, lung and neuromuscular function. We then build on that examination, assessing:

  • General mobility
  • Trunk strength
  • Positioning contracture
  • Skin and wound condition
  • Level of independence
  • Ability to perform activities of daily living
  • Visual or cognitive impairments
  • Ability to tolerate sitting, specific movements
  • Supportive/adaptive equipment currently being used or needed

Recommendations and Treatment

Based on the evaluation, we answer questions and provide individualized recommendations:

  • Are you medically fit to safely begin or continue to participate in an adaptive sport?
  • What specific challenges or barriers do you face?
  • Do you need a specific training or therapeutic program to prepare?
  • How might you start an exercise program or modify your current exercise program?
  • If you are considering trying a new adaptive sport, which sport or sports might be the best fit with your abilities and interests?
  • If you are currently participating in an adaptive sport, what steps could you take to improve performance or train/prepare for a competition or event?

Treatment and rehabilitation services are available for patients with adaptive sports-related injuries and are individualized to each patient’s needs. 

Make an Appointment

Physician referrals are preferred, and can be made by contacting M-Line at 800-962-3555. If you have questions, please contact the clinic at 734-973-2400.

Adaptive Sports Medicine Clinic
325 E. Eisenhower Pkwy
Ann Arbor, MI 48108