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Nima Dehghansai, Alia Mazhar, Ross Pinder, Joseph Baker, and Ian Renshaw

The current study explored coach and athlete reactions and challenges leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, with a specific focus on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Games’ postponement. Nine Australian Paralympic coaches (n = 3) and athletes (n = 6) shared their experiences in semistructured interviews. The thematic analysis highlighted how participants experienced the emergence of the pandemic in different ways, but all were relieved when the late but eventual decision to postpone the Games was made. Regarding lockdown periods (i.e., social-distancing restrictions), some coaches and athletes thrived under the new reality (i.e., training from home, online coaching) while others had more difficulty adjusting. Furthermore, results highlight the many uncertainties still remaining, which continue to influence participants’ sport and personal lives. The experiences of coaches and athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic sheds light on strategies and resources that could support Paralympic coaches and athletes during current and future crises.

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Lisa Lehmann, Oussama Saidi, Magali Giacomoni, Giovanna Del Sordo, Freddy Maso, Irène Margaritis, and Pascale Duché

The aim of this study was to examine the effect of delayed evening mealtime on sleep quality in young athletes. Twelve rugby players (age 15.8 ± 0.7 years) participated in a crossover within-participant design. Adolescents spent five consecutive days in each of two conditions, separated by a 2-week washout period: routine dinner (3.5 hr before bedtime) and late dinner (LD, 1.5 hr before bedtime). Other mealtimes as well as bedtime and wake-up time were usual and remained the same in both conditions. Their schedules, dietary intakes, and physical activity were controlled and kept constant throughout the study. Sleep was assessed using polysomnography on the first and the last nights in the individual rooms of the boarding school. An increase in total sleep time by 24 min (p = .001, d = 1.24) and sleep efficiency by 4.8% was obtained during LD (p = .001, d = 1.24). Improvement in sleep efficiency was mainly due to a lower wake after sleep onset (−25 min, p = .014, d = −3.20), a decrease of microarousals (−25%, p = .049, d = −0.64), and awakenings ≥90 s (−30%, p < .01, d = −0.97) in LD compared to routine dinner. There were no significant differences in sleep architecture except for a shorter slow-wave sleep (N3) latency (−6.9 min, p = .03, d = −0.778) obtained during LD. In this study, evening dinner 1.5 hr before bedtime leads to better quality and less fragmented sleep compared to evening dinner 3.5 hr before bedtime in young athletes.

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Nathan Elsworthy, Michele Lastella, Aaron T. Scanlan, and Matthew R. Blair

Purpose : To examine the effect of match schedule on self-reported wellness and sleep in rugby union referees during the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Methods : Following an observational design, 18 international-level male referees participating in the 2019 Rugby World Cup completed a daily questionnaire to quantify wellness status (sleep quality, mood, stress, fatigue, muscle soreness, and total wellness) and sleep characteristics (bedtime, wake-up time, and time in bed) from the previous night across the tournament. Linear mixed models and effect sizes (Hedges g av) assessed differences in wellness and sleep characteristics between prematch and postmatch days surrounding single-game and 2-game congested match schedules (prematch1, postmatch1, prematch2, and postmatch2 days). Results: During regular schedules, all self-reported wellness variables except stress were reduced (g av = 0.33–1.05, mean difference −0.32 to −1.21 arbitrary units [AU]) and referees went to bed later (1.08, 1:07 h:min) and spent less time in bed (−0.78, 00:55 h:min) postmatch compared with prematch days. During congested schedules, only wellness variables differed across days, with total wellness reduced on postmatch1 (−0.88, −3.56 AU) and postmatch2 (−0.67, −2.70 AU) days, as well as mood (−1.01, −0.56 AU) and fatigue (−0.90, −1.11 AU) reduced on postmatch1 days compared with prematch days. Conclusion: Referees were susceptible to acute reductions in wellness on days following matches regardless of schedule. However, only single-game regular match schedules negatively impacted the sleep characteristics of referees. Targeted strategies to maximize wellness status and sleep opportunities in referees considering the match schedule faced should be explored during future Rugby World Cup competitions.

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Max R. McKenzie, Luke W. Hogarth, Mark R. McKean, Danielle P. Doyle, and Brendan J. Burkett

Purpose: Determine the effects of skin temperature change on bench-pull power following a passive warm-up intervention with highly trained swimmers using multiple heated clothing garments. Methods: Using a crossover design, 8 high-performance swimmers (mean [SD]; age, 22.4 [4.4] y; body mass, 74.9 [8.1] kg; height, 1.79 [0.09] m; world record ratio, 107.3% [5.1%]) completed a pool-based warm-up followed by a 35-minute transition phase before completing 3 repetitions at 50% of 1-repetition maximum of the bench-pull exercise. During transition, swimmers wore either a warm (control) or a heated (heat) clothing condition. Results: Following heating, mean skin temperature was 0.7 °C higher in heat (P = .011), though no change was seen in tympanic temperature. Bench-pull mean and peak power improved by 4.5% and 4.7% following heating, respectively. A large repeated-measures correlation was observed between skin temperature and mean (r [90% CI] = .94 [.65 to .99], P < .01) and peak (r [90% CI] = .89 [.45 to .98], P < .01) power output. Thermal sensation and comfort at all regions were higher with heating (P ≤ .02). Conclusion: Combined upper- and lower-limb passive heating can increase whole-body skin temperature and improve short-duration upper-limb power output during the bench-pull exercise. Improvements in power output were directly related to the skin temperature increase facilitated by the heated clothing.

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Kwok Ng, Sean Healy, Wesley O’Brien, Lauren Rodriguez, Marie Murphy, and Angela Carlin

For the first time, data on children and adolescents with disabilities in Ireland are reported based on the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance Para Report Card methodology. The most recent data from the last 10 years were used in the grading process (A+ to F), and indicators with insufficient data were graded as incomplete. Of the 10 indicators from the Global Matrix Para Report Cards, grades were assigned to Overall Physical Activity (F), Organized Sport (D), Active Transport (D−), Sedentary Behaviors (D−), Family & Peers (C), School (C−), Community & Environment (B−), and Government (B). Irish disability sport organizations were invited to assess the research-led audit and provided commentary around the final grading. The contextual discussion of the grades is presented through the lens of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats with the purpose being to provide direction for the reduction of physical activity disparities among children with disabilities.

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Javier Pérez-Tejero, Mauro Grassi-Roig, Javier Coterón, and Yeshayahu Hutzler

In Spain, wheelchair basketball competition is well developed and structured; however, reverse integration is not allowed. This study aimed to describe and synthesize the perceptions of Spanish wheelchair stakeholders (players, coaches, referees, and club managers). A mixed-method approach was used, utilizing an ad hoc survey questionnaire (n = 49) and three focus groups (n = 12). Quantitative and qualitative data were interpreted using a triangulation strategy, meaning that both sources of data were combined and analyzed. From the thematic content analysis, two main themes and several subthemes emerged: social context (audience attraction and economic impact, utility and logistics, and promoting inclusion) and sport context (grassroots and elite level). Some reservations at elite level were also reported. From the perspective of the stakeholders explored in this study, reverse integration appears to be well suited for implementation within the Spanish wheelchair basketball framework at all levels.

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Mathieu Michaud, William J. Harvey, and Gordon A. Bloom

The purpose of this scoping review was to examine how mixed methods research (MMR) has been applied in adapted physical activity (APA) research about children and adolescents age 5–18 years with a disability. Six electronic databases were searched to retrieve relevant studies published between 2003 and 2020. Sixty-four studies were identified and analyzed. The findings were organized into five categories of interest: publication information, study objectives, mixed methods research design, participants’ information, and data integration. Challenges related to the design and publication of MMR in APA were uncovered, and suggestions for improvement are provided. This study adds to the knowledge of MMR design, and it provides an understanding of the underlying processes and methodological strategies that have guided this approach in APA research. This article will encourage APA researchers to engage in MMR while also aligning future studies with contemporary MMR literature and publication standards.

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Mauricio Garzon, Jenaro Leguizamo, Fernando Saldarriaga, Edgar Galeano, and Grégoire P. Millet

Objective: To determine whether the altitude of birth/childhood influences the values in peak power output (PPO) and estimated maximum oxygen uptake (estVO2max) in male Colombian road cyclists of different performance levels. This study also aimed to determine whether cyclists born at high altitudes tend to be more successful. Methods: Eighty riders aged between 17 and 22 years of 3 performance levels (U23 world-class level, WC, n = 8; U23 national level, N23, n = 41; junior national level, J, n = 31) and 3 altitude levels (<800 m, low; 800–2000 m, moderate; >2000 m, high) performed an ergocycle maximal incremental test to exhaustion at an altitude of 2570 m. Results: Altogether, while cyclists born at an altitude >2000 m represented ∼50% of the analyzed sample, there was a significantly higher proportion (84%) of these cyclists who had participated as professionals in a Grand Tour (χ 2[1, N = 80] = 4.58, P < .05). Riders of the low group had lower values of PPO and estVO2max than cyclists of moderate and high altitudes, while no differences were noted between moderate- and high-altitude groups. In N23, PPO and estVO2max were lower in the low- than in the moderate-altitude group, while in the J cyclists, PPO and estVO2max were lower in the low-altitude compared with both moderate- and high-altitude groups. Discussion: Among the cyclists tested at altitude in junior and U23, there is an overrepresentation of individuals who reached an elite level and were born at a high altitude (>2000 m). As no clear differences were observed between moderate- and high-altitude cyclists, the higher prevalence of elite cyclists in the latter group may originate from various—still unclear—mechanisms.

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Ryan T. Letter, Dan B. Dwyer, Eric J. Drinkwater, and Simon A. Feros

Purpose: To determine whether the most important physical qualities in elite Australian male and female cricket pace bowlers change with age and phase of the cricket season. Methods: An existing longitudinal database (7 cricket seasons) of selected and routinely collected physical testing data from 103 male and 58 female elite Australian pace bowlers age 18–30 years was retrospectively analyzed. Male and female physical testing data from the isometric midthigh pull, 1-repetition-maximum bench pull, run-of-3, and countermovement jump (male only) were analyzed separately by performing linear mixed models on each of the physical qualities. Type III analysis-of-variance tests were conducted to determine if a significant effect existed within the fixed effects of age, season phase, and the age × season phase interaction. Appropriate pairwise comparisons were conducted. Results: Absolute and relative measures of force in the isometric midthigh pull and strength in the 1-repetition-maximum bench pull tests were significantly greater in older male and female pace bowlers. Older male pace bowlers demonstrated significantly faster absolute and relative best run-of-3 times. Conclusions: Most physical qualities across both male and female pace bowlers demonstrated an improvement with age. This is likely due to a training effect and would be anticipated to lead to a gradual enhancement of ball release speed, in accordance with previous research. Future research should look to investigate the relationship between the development of physical qualities and ball release speed among elite male and female pace bowlers.

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Akane Yoshimura, Shun Kunugi, Tetsuya Hirono, Hiroya Nojima, Saeko Ueda, Aleš Holobar, Yukiko Mita, and Kohei Watanabe

Purpose: Contributions of neural and muscular factors to muscle strength change with growth, but such changes remain unclear in young populations. This study aimed to clarify the association between muscle strength and neural and muscular factors in youth athletes. Methods: Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) during isometric knee extension, the motor unit firing rate (MUFR), and muscle thickness (MT) of the vastus lateralis were measured in 70 youth male soccer players (mean [SD]; chronological age = 16.3 [0.6] y, peak height velocity age = 13.1 [1.0] y). MUFR and MT were measured with high-density surface electromyography and ultrasonography, respectively. Results: For MUFR and MT, correlations with MVC were calculated and the values of different MVC groups were compared. A significant correlation between MVC and MT (r = .49, P < .01) was noted, but not MUFR (r = .03, P > .05). There was also no significant correlation between MT and MUFR (r = −.33, P > .05). In addition, comparison among groups (higher-/middle-/lower-strength groups) revealed that MT in the lower-strength group was significantly lower than in middle-and higher-strength groups (P < .01). Conclusion: In youth athletes, muscle strength is associated with muscular factors, rather than neural factors, and muscular and neural factors may independently contribute to muscle strength.