STUDY DESIGN: Longitudinal observational study.
OBJECTIVES: During the five-month free-living training period for the HandbikeBattle event several participants dropped out. The aim of this study was to clarify the numbers and reasons for drop out, and to characterize the differences between study participants who did (dropouts) and did not (competitors) drop out during the training period for the HandbikeBattle event.
SETTING: Former participants of the HandbikeBattle, a handcycling race on an Austrian mountain.
METHODS: Participants (N = 313 (N = 209 (67%) with spinal cord injury or spina bifida)) enrolled between 2013-2018. Drop out and reasons for drop out were registered. Competitors and dropouts were compared regarding personal, disability, physical, and psychological factors, which were measured at the start of the training period.
RESULTS: Forty-five participants (14%) dropped out during the training period with medical complications (49%) and motivational problems (29%) as main reasons. The only differences were that competitors participated more in sports before the study (p = 0.01) and achieved a higher peak power output (p = 0.04) compared to dropouts.
CONCLUSIONS: The drop-out rate of the HandbikeBattle study was low compared to previous exercise intervention studies, which might be related to the less strictly imposed free-living training. Persons with less experience in sport and a lower fitness level might need more attention during a training intervention to prevent them from dropping out.