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Fitness levels have been tested in a sample of 29 functionally deaf students (15 boys and 14 girls) of average age 13.5 years and compared to deaf and blind children of similar age—published by Cumming, Goulding, and Baggley (1971) and by Lee, Ward, and Shephard (1985). Maximum attained oxygen intake, maximum power output, and 12-min run scores were less than anticipated in the general Canadian population of this age. This seems to be a reflection of difficulty in stimulating all-out effort, since the physical working capacity at a heart rate of 170 bpm was well up to figures observed in a recent national sample. All fitness scores were closely comparable with a previous study of deaf children in Winnipeg (Cumming et al., 1971). Our data do not support the hypothesis that deafness stimulates hyperactivity, with the resultant development of an unusual level of fitness. Indeed, many deaf children could profitably be stimulated to undertake more endurance exercise.
Request reprints from Dr. Roy J. Shephard, School of Physical & Health Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont., M5S 1A1 Canada.