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Athletes’ Perspectives of the Classification System in Para Alpine Skiing for Those With Visual Impairment

Sara M. Douglas, Paul J. Kitchin, Andrew J. Jackson, Brendan T. Barrett, and Julie-Anne Little

This study explored the classification experiences and views of Para Alpine skiers with visual impairment. Data from 11  interviews were analyzed using reflexive thematic analysis to generate three themes: Suitability—The skiers questioned the suitability of the visual measurements, testing environment, and the information they received regarding classification; Exclusivity—Skiers felt certain aspects of the system remain exclusive due to the restrictions of sport classes and lack of the athlete voice; and (Dis)trust—Skiers felt distrust in those implementing the system and in other athletes due to intentional misrepresentation. Speculation surrounding this resulted in the skiers’ feeling doubt in their own classification. While there is not a “one size fits all” approach to classification, understanding skiers’ experiences can be a vital first step and will help to guide future research into the evolution of this sport’s classification.

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Brazilian Women in Paralympic Sports: Uncovering Historical Milestones in the Summer Paralympic Games

Luiz Gustavo T. Fabricio dos Santos, Isabella dos Santos Alves, Náthali Fernanda Feliciano, Africa Alejandra Ortuño Torres, Luis Felipe Castelli Correia de Campos, and Maria Luiza Tanure Alves

The journey of Brazilian female Paralympians transcends mere statistical increases in women’s participation. Behind the modest athlete growth lies the reality of women who are doubly marginalized by the intersection of gender and disability in an arena tailored for able-bodied men. Our study aimed to catalyze critical discourses surrounding the historical trajectory of Paralympic women’s sports. Through a comprehensive documentary analysis based on the Brazilian Paralympic Committee’s official documents from 1976 to 2021, we sought to shed light on this complex scenario. Numerically, Brazil’s representation comprised 229 women who, predominantly, had physical impairments and engaged in individual sports. In addition to a sporting legacy deeply entrenched in physical rehabilitation with limited opportunities for team-based sports, we observed negative influences stemming from ableist and sexist narratives. A thorough investigation into Paralympic milestones revealed a multitude of social barriers and highlighted the significant impact of societal changes in reshaping athletic opportunities and challenging traditional stereotypes.

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Volume 41 (2024): Issue 2 (Apr 2024)

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The Influence of Blind Tennis on Subjective Inclusion Experiences—An Ableism-Critical Analysis

Felix Oldörp, Martin Giese, and Michelle Grenier

In this paper, we analyze the subjective inclusion experiences of visually impaired (VI) adult tennis players from an ableism-critical perspective. The primary focus of this research is the inclusive potential of blind tennis from the perspective of VI individuals. Episodic interviews were conducted to capture subjective perspectives. A qualitative text analysis revealed that the interviewees were confronted with multiple ability assumptions by sighted people in their everyday lives. Deficit notions on the performance of VI people included sports, work, and general activities. Participation in blind tennis helped the interviewees build a “competent identity” and acquire various skills useful for their everyday lives as participation in blind tennis was a pathway for competence in sports. Further research is needed to identify exclusion experiences from the perspective of disabled people to recognize the potential of different sports in reducing barriers to participation.

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The Palgrave Handbook of Disability Sport in Europe: Policies, Structures, and Participation

Wellington De Luna-Vazquez and Deborah Shapiro

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Effect of Combined Training With Balance, Strength, and Plyometrics on Physical Performance in Male Sprint Athletes With Intellectual Disabilities

Ghada Jouira, Haithem Rebai, Dan Iulian Alexe, and Sonia Sahli

Individuals with intellectual disabilities often face unique challenges in physical capabilities, making traditional training methods less effective for their specific needs. This study aimed to investigate the effect of combining balance, plyometric, and strength (CBPS) training with sprint training on physical performance in male athletes with intellectual disabilities. Twenty-seven participants were randomly assigned to either a CBPS group or a control group that only maintained their regular sprint training. Participants underwent pre- and posttraining tests, including measures of balance, jumping, agility, and sprinting ability. The results showed that the CBPS group demonstrated significant improvements (p < .05) in one-leg stance, crossover-hop jump, squat jump, countermovement jump, and 10- and 30-m sprint at posttraining compared with pretraining. CBPS training combined with sprinting significantly improves physical performance in male athletes with intellectual disabilities, suggesting implications for tailored training programs to enhance their physical fitness and overall health.

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Investigating Patterns of Donor and Recipient Sports of Talent Transfer Paralympians

Adeline Green, Rory Mulcahy, David Fleischman, Luke MacDonald, and Bridie Kean

Talent transfer has enabled elite athletes to be successful in another sport, with great potential in para-sport. Previous research suggests that similarities between donor and recipient sports may facilitate talent transfer; however, this remains unclear in para-sport. This study investigated patterns between donor and recipient sports’ characteristics, identifying the impact on talent transfer in para-sport. An Australian case study utilizing secondary data of 38 Australian Paralympians who competed at the Paralympic Games from 2000 through 2020 was analyzed. Results demonstrated that similarities between sports were not significantly associated with successful talent transfers between Paralympic sports. Understanding patterns associated with successful Paralympic talent transfers offers a foundation of knowledge for designing and developing future talent-transfer pathways and research. Based on this study, it is recommended that sport administrators and practitioners explore greater opportunity for talent transfer in para-sport, rather than limiting talent-transfer opportunities based on athletes’ donor sports.

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Variability Analysis in Judo Para Athletes With Visual Impairments: Match-Outcome Performance in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games With Evidence From the New Classification System

Rafael Lima Kons, Danilo França Conceição dos Santos, Raiane Carvalho, Adriano Ferreira da Silva, João Paulo Lopes-Silva, Emerson Franchini, and Daniele Detanico

Match-related performance analysis in judo Para athletes with visual impairments is important to coaches and staff to identify technical–tactical profiles of their athletes and opponents but also to identify whether there are similar characteristics in each visual class. Thus, this study explores the match-related performance in judo Para athletes and verifies the relationship between performance using the old and new classification systems. The match-derived variables were analyzed using different statistical methods considering a total of 182 matches from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The results indicated that performance was affected by sex and degree of impairment. The new classification system seems suitable for grouping Para judo athletes, as it differentiates performance between the two proposed classes (J1 and J2), since athletes from each group compete separately. Furthermore, different variability index measures were correlated with competitive performance, demonstrating a specific performance profile for each sport class in judo.

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Disability and Motor Behavior: A Handbook of Research

Martin E. Block

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Characteristics of Physical Activity Interventions for People With Visual Impairments: A Scoping Review

Soyoung Choi and JJ Pionke

This study evaluated physical activity interventions designed for individuals with visual impairments and sought to guide health intervention scientists aiming to promote physical activity in this demographic. We delved into the specifics of participants’ visual impairments, intervention features, accommodation approaches, and replicability prospects. The search spanned four databases, namely PubMed, CINAHL, SportDiscus, and Scopus, providing a wide scope and diversity of potential studies. There were no restrictions on publication years. We reviewed 13 studies, totaling 15 interventions. A consensus on visual-impairment definitions remains elusive, and the intervention dosages displayed variability. Notably, 66.7% (n = 7) integrated behavior-change techniques to amplify physical activity levels. Multiple studies employed audio descriptions as an accommodation method. While most studies provided adequate information for potential replication, detailed study protocols were frequently absent. It is essential for developed interventions to be persistently evaluated and fine-tuned to optimize results.