Change-of-Direction Ability of Para-Footballers With Cerebral Palsy Under a New Evidence-Based and Sport-Specific Classification System

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: This study aimed (1) to explore the validity and reliability of a new and specific change-of-direction (COD) test that requires dribbling skills to classify international footballers with cerebral palsy (CP) and compare it with another valid and reliable COD test without ball dribbling and (2) to probe whether both tests can discriminate between the new CP football classes (ie, FT1, FT2, and FT3) established worldwide in 2018. Methods: This study involved 180 international para-footballers with CP from 23 national teams at the 3 regional competitions held in 2018. They performed 2 COD tests, the modified agility test (no dribbling skills) and the dribbling speed test (DST). Results: Reliability was excellent for both the modified agility test (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC]2,1 = .91, SEM = 5.75%) and the DST (ICC2,1 = .92, SEM = 4.66%). The modified agility test and DST results were highly to very highly correlated to one another for the whole group and considering the sport classes (r = .60–.80; P < .001). A 1-way analysis of variance showed significant differences between sport classes in both tests (P < .001). However, among classes, there were significant differences between FT1 and FT2 and FT3 (P < .01, effect size = large) and low to moderate effect sizes between FT2 and FT3 for either test. Conclusion: The DST appears to be valid and reliable to classify CP football players within the new classification system. Regression analysis revealed that 18.2% of the variance in the new sport classes could be explained by the 2 examined tests.

The authors are with the Sport Research Center, Dept of Sport Sciences, Miguel Hernández University, Elche, Spain.

Reina (rreina@umh.es) is corresponding author.

Supplementary Materials

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