The U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth has tracked 10 physical activity (PA) indicators common to the Active Healthy Kids Global Matrix since 2014. This article expands on the U.S. report cards by presenting PA indicator assessments among children and adolescents with disabilities. Grades for indicators were assigned based on a search of peer-reviewed articles presenting nationally representative data. The Global Matrix 3.0 benchmarks and grading framework guided the process. Grades for overall PA, sedentary behaviors, organized sports, and school were F, D+, D+, and D, respectively. Insufficient evidence existed to assign grades to the remaining six indicators. There is a need in the United States for targeted PA promotion strategies that are specific to children and adolescents with disabilities. Without a commitment to this effort across sectors and settings, the low grades identified in this para report card are expected to remain.
Heidi Stanish, Samantha M. Ross, Byron Lai, Justin A. Haegele, Joonkoo Yun, and Sean Healy
Brantley K. Ballenger, Emma E. Schultz, Melody Dale, Bo Fernhall, Robert W. Motl, and Stamatis Agiovlasitis
This systematic review examined whether physical activity interventions improve health outcomes in adults with Down syndrome (DS). We searched PubMed, APA PsycInfo, SPORTDiscus, APA PsycARTICLES, and Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection using keywords related to DS and physical activity. We included 35 studies published in English since January 1, 1990. Modes of exercise training programs included aerobic exercise, strength training, combined aerobic and strength training, aquatic, sport and gaming, and aerobic and strength exercise interventions combined with health education. The evidence base indicates that aerobic and strength exercise training improve physical fitness variables including maximal oxygen uptake, maximal heart rate, upper and lower body strength, body weight, and body fat percentage. Sport and gaming interventions improve functional mobility, work task performance, and sport skill performance. We concluded that adults with DS can accrue health benefits from properly designed physical activity and exercise interventions.
Brynn Adamson, Mina Woo, Toni Liechty, Chung-Yi Chiu, Nic Wyatt, Cailey Cranny, and Laura Rice
Lack of disability awareness of fitness professionals is a well-established barrier to exercise participation among people with disabilities that is likely related to the lack of disability awareness training for group fitness instructors. The purposes of this study were to develop, implement, and evaluate a disability awareness training for group fitness instructors. A 90-min video training and resource manual were developed. We recruited 10 group fitness instructors from one recreation center to participate. Participants completed baseline, posttraining, and 2-month follow-up testing on survey-based outcomes including disability attitudes, confidence in exercise adaptations, and training satisfaction. Participants’ confidence to adapt fitness classes was significantly improved; however, disability attitudes were high in the pretest and not significantly different posttraining. Semistructured interviews were conducted posttraining and revealed three themes: Formal disability training is needed, Managing inclusive class dynamics, and Training suggestions and satisfaction. This training demonstrated a feasible intervention for increasing disability awareness among community-based group fitness instructors.
Meredith Wekesser, Guilherme H. Costa, Piotr J. Pasik, and Karl Erickson
Adapted sport participation can have many positive benefits for adults with disabilities. However, one barrier to implementing successful adapted sport programs is lack of knowledgeable volunteers who understand accessibility and disability. In fact, little is known about volunteers’ experiences in adapted sport programs. The purpose of this study was to retrospectively examine experiences of able-bodied volunteers in an adapted sport program. A sample of 105 able-bodied volunteers (Mage = 24.28 ± 1.93) completed an online qualitative survey to share their experiences. Data were analyzed using qualitative thematic analysis, and seven main themes were identified. Results showed that despite differences in initial motives for volunteering, involvement in an adapted sport program was transformative and, for some, life changing. Able-bodied volunteers experienced a wide range of benefits including deeper understanding and awareness of disability and inclusion in sport. Practical recommendations are provided for volunteer-based adapted sport program leaders.
Yu-Ting Tseng, Chia-Liang Tsai, Tzu Hsuan Wu, Yi-Wen Chen, and Yi-Hsuan Lin
This study examined whether table tennis as a method of sensorimotor training improves haptic and motor function and to what extent haptic function gain correlates with changes in motor ability in children with probable developmental coordination disorder (pDCD). Children with pDCD were randomly assigned to the table tennis and nontraining control groups. The children in the table tennis group received 36 sessions of table tennis training, including ball balancing, hitting the ball against the wall, strokes, and serving. Haptic sensitivity, acuity, and motor function domains were measured. The results showed a 41.5% improvement in haptic sensitivity in children exposed to table tennis training compared with 2.8% in those without training. This improved haptic sensitivity significantly correlated with motor function gain, suggesting that somatosensory gains occur simultaneously with changes in motor function in children with pDCD. This novel upper limb motor training approach may be an interesting method of sensorimotor training in neurological rehabilitation in children with pDCD.
Nima Dehghansai, Alia Mazhar, and Joseph Baker
Research pertaining to the experiences and motives of Paralympic athletes who transfer between sports is scant. This study aimed to address this gap through semistructured interviews with Canadian Paralympic coaches (n = 35) and athletes (n = 12). Three higher-order themes of “alternative to retirement,” “career extension,” and “compatibility” were identified. The subthemes of “psychobehavioral” and “physical and physiological” (from the higher-order theme of alternative to retirement) captured reasons leading to transfer, which are similar to reasons athletes may consider retirement. The subthemes of career extension—“better opportunities” and “beneficial outcomes”—shed light on factors that contributed to the withdrawal of negative experiences and reinforcement of positive outcomes associated with transferring sports. Last, compatibility had three subthemes of “resources,” “sport-specific,” and “communication,” which encapsulated factors athletes should consider prior to their transfer. In conclusion, the participants highlighted the importance of transparent and effective communication between athletes and sports to align and establish realistic expectations for everyone involved.
AuraLea Fain, Benjamin Hindle, Jordan Andersen, Bradley C. Nindl, Matthew B. Bird, Joel T. Fuller, Jodie A. Wills, and Tim L.A. Doyle
This study aimed to validate a 7-sensor inertial measurement unit system against optical motion capture to estimate bilateral lower-limb kinematics. Hip, knee, and ankle sagittal plane peak angles and range of motion (ROM) were compared during bodyweight squats and countermovement jumps in 18 participants. In the bodyweight squats, left peak hip flexion (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] = .51), knee extension (ICC = .68) and ankle plantar flexion (ICC = .55), and hip (ICC = .63) and knee (ICC = .52) ROM had moderate agreement, and right knee ROM had good agreement (ICC = .77). Relatively higher agreement was observed in the countermovement jumps compared to the bodyweight squats, moderate to good agreement in right peak knee flexion (ICC = .73), and right (ICC = .75) and left (ICC = .83) knee ROM. Moderate agreement was observed for right ankle plantar flexion (ICC = .63) and ROM (ICC = .51). Moderate agreement (ICC > .50) was observed in all variables in the left limb except hip extension, knee flexion, and dorsiflexion. In general, there was poor agreement for peak flexion angles, and at least moderate agreement for joint ROM. Future work will aim to optimize methodologies to increase usability and confidence in data interpretation by minimizing variance in system-based differences and may also benefit from expanding planes of movement.
Anna M. Martin, Donghyun Ryu, Robin C. Jackson, and David L. Mann
Para sport classification aims to minimize the impact of impairments on the outcome of competition. The International Paralympic Committee requires classification systems to be evidence based and sport specific, yet the sport of goalball uses a structure that is not supported by evidence demonstrating its legitimacy for competition. This study aimed to establish expert opinions on how a sport-specific system of classification should be structured in the sport of goalball. Using a three-round Delphi survey, 30 international experts expressed their views across topics linked to goalball classification. Participants were divided as to whether the current system fulfills the aim to minimize the impact of impairment on competition. Most felt that less impairment should be required to compete but that the one-class structure should remain. Experts identified measures of visual function that should be considered and 15 core components of individual goalball performance. Findings constitute a crucial first step toward evidence-based classification in goalball.
Nader Farahpour, Mahboube Alemzadeh, Mehri Mohammadi, Mohammadreza Rezaie, and Paul Allard
Left–right differential erector spinae (ES) muscle strengthening is required to correct ES muscle imbalances. The objective was to test the effect of 6 body positions on the differential activation of the ES muscles. In 14 able-bodied young women, using a surface electromyography system, the bilateral ES muscles activity at the third lumbar (ESL3) and the 10th (EST10) and 6th (EST6) thoracic vertebral levels was measured with the contralateral arm and leg lifted in the prone and quadruped conditions and with a single arm lifted in the quadruped position. Results showed that the activity of the ESL3 was symmetrical (P > .05) and significantly smaller than that of the thoracic ES muscles in all body positions (P < .01). The EST10 and EST6 were differentially activated in all tests (P < .001). Besides, the differential activation was higher in the contralateral-arm and -leg lift in the quadruped position than in the other positions. In conclusion, contralateral-arm and -leg lift and single-arm lift in the quadruped and prone positions are capable of differentially activating the ES muscles on one side more than the other side. Further studies are recommended to examine the effectiveness of these exercises on the correction of ES muscle imbalances in clinical populations.