Improvement of the Classification System for Wheelchair Rugby: Athlete Priorities

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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  • 1 Sint Maartenskliniek
  • | 2 Sint Maartenskliniek
  • | 3 Northern Arizona University
  • | 4 Katholieke Universiteit
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A representative sample (N = 302) of the wheelchair rugby population responded to a survey about the classification system based on prioritized items by International Wheelchair Rugby Federation members. Respondents stated, "The classification system is accurate but needs adjustments" (56%), "Any athlete with tetraequivalent impairment should be allowed to compete" (72%), "Athletes with cerebral palsy and other coordination impairments should be classified with a system different than the current one" (75%), and "The maximal value for trunk should be increased from 1.0 to 1.5" (67%). A minority stated, "Wheelchair rugby should only be open to spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions" (36%) and "There should be a 4.0 class" (33%). Results strongly indicated that athletes and stakeholders want adjustments to the classification system in two areas: a focus on evaluation of athletes with impairments other than loss of muscle power caused by spinal cord injury and changes in classification of trunk impairment.

Altmann is with the Rehabilitation Center, and van Limbeek, the Research Dept., Sint Maartenskliniek, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Hart is with the Dept. of Physical Therapy and Athlete Training, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ. Vanlandewijck is with the Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium.

Address author correspondence to Viola Altmann at