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Scott Douglas, William R. Falcão and Gordon A. Bloom

The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the career development and learning pathways of Paralympic head coaches who previously competed as Paralympic athletes. Each coach participated in a semistructured interview. A thematic analysis of the data revealed three higher order themes, which were called becoming a coach, learning to coach, and lifelong learning and teaching. Across these themes, participants discussed interactions with other coaches and athletes with a disability, learning from mentors and coaching clinics, as well as limited formal educational opportunities they experienced transitioning from athlete to head coach. The findings revealed that they acquired most of their knowledge from a combination of knowledge gained as athletes and informal sources, including trial and error. They also stressed the need for enhanced recruiting of parasport coaches and parasport coach education opportunities that would enhance programs for athletes with physical disabilities, from grassroots to Paralympic levels.

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Mário A.M. Simim, Gustavo R. da Mota, Moacir Marocolo, Bruno V.C. da Silva, Marco Túlio de Mello and Paul S. Bradley

We investigated the match demands (distances covered and acute physiological responses) of amputee soccer and its impact on muscular endurance and power. Measures such as heart rate, blood lactate concentration, subjective rating of perceived exertion, and time-motion characteristics were recorded in 16 Brazilian amputee soccer players during matches. Before and after matches, players completed a battery of tests: push-ups, countermovement vertical jump performance, and medicine ball throwing. Small differences were found between the first and second half for the distance covered in total and across various speed categories. Heart rate responses, blood lactate concentrations, and peak speed did not differ between halves, and all neuromuscular performance measures decreased after the match particularly after push-ups, although the rating of perceived exertion increased markedly compared with prematches. Although match physical performances were consistent across halves, the overall demands impaired test performance, especially for upper limb and closed kinetic chain exercise.

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ZáNean McClain, E. Andrew Pitchford, E. Kipling Webster, Michaela A. Schenkelberg and Jill Pawlowski

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Jennifer K. Sansom and Beverly D. Ulrich

Due to increased metabolic demands during walking, ∼50% of children with myelomeningocele transition to wheelchair use during adolescence/early adulthood. The purpose of our pilot study involving children with myelomeningocele was to determine: (a) energy expenditure needs during acute use of common assistive devices and (b) if walking poles are a feasible assistive device. Oxygen uptake was recorded for eight (5–12 years old) children in four conditions: independent, walker, crutches, and poles. Acute pole use did not significantly differ from independent walking net energy consumption or cost. Participants consumed more energy while walking with the walker than independently. Our pilot results suggest that (a) acute use of common assistive devices while walking increases energy consumption and cost versus independent and (b) poles are feasible assistive devices, resulting in slightly increased energy requirements. Poles may have provided “just enough” support with minimal change in energy requirements for our participants and, with practice, may enable children with myelomeningocele to remain community ambulators.

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Krystn Orr, Katherine A. Tamminen, Shane N. Sweet, Jennifer R. Tomasone and Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos

This study was guided by self-determination theory to explore the sport experiences of youth with a physical disability and the role of peers within this context. Interviews were conducted with eight youths using a relational mapping technique and analyzed using a deductive thematic approach. Sport peers were broadly defined by the youth as individuals from a large age range and of all abilities. Youth perceived their sport peers to have dynamic roles throughout their participation in sport. The perceived roles of these sport peers included supporting and thwarting basic psychological needs, and influencing the youths’ processing of sport internalization. Findings focus on the complexity of peer need-thwarting and need-supporting interactions in sport for youth with physical disabilities. Overall, peers have a multifaceted role in the sport experiences of youth identifying with a physical disability and may, in some cases, thwart youths’ basic psychological needs.

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Aitor Iturricastillo, Javier Yanci and Cristina Granados

The aim was to analyze the changes of physical performance and physiological responses during a high-intensity training task in wheelchair basketball (WB) players. Thirteen Spanish first division WB male players participated in this study. A test battery (change of direction ability, sprints, and sled towing) was performed to study neuromuscular responses before (pre) and after (post) the small-sided games (SSG). Furthermore, tympanic temperature and blood lactate concentration were measured before and immediately after players finished the SSG. The SSG tasks consisted in four players against four, 4 bouts of 4 min with 2 min of recovery periods. There was a 1.10% decline in performance in both 5- and 20-m sprints (p < .01; effect size [ES] ≤ 0.14), 1.82% decline in 5-m sled towing (p < .05; ES = 0.18), and 2.68% decline in 20-m sled towing (p < .01; ES = 0.27) between pre- and post-SSG. As in physical performance results, significant differences were observed between pre and post in physiological markers, with increasing tympanic temperature (36.21 ± 0.60 °C to 36.97 ± 0.59 °C; p < .001; ES = 1.27) and blood lactate concentrations (1.95 ± 1.30 mmol/L to 5.84 ± 2.04 mmol/L; p < .001; ES = 2.99) after SSG. The SSG produced a decrease in sprint and sled towing performance after 16 min of intense exercise. Moreover, the decrease in physical performance was accompanied with an increase in physiological responses. These neuromuscular responses could be similar in the real game; thus, coaching staff could benefit from this information when changing bench players.

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Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Viviane Grassmann, Krystn Orr, Amy C. McPherson, Guy E. Faulkner and F. Virginia Wright

The objective of this study was to comprehensively evaluate inclusive out-of-school time physical activity programs for children/youth with physical disabilities. A search of the published literature was conducted and augmented by international expertise. A quality appraisal was conducted; only studies with quality ratings ≥60% informed our best practice recommendations. Seventeen studies were included using qualitative (n = 9), quantitative (n = 5), or mixed (n = 3) designs. Programs had a diversity of age groups, group sizes, and durations. Most programs were recreational level, involving both genders. Rehabilitation staff were the most common leaders. Outcomes focused on social skills/relationships, physical skill development, and psychological well-being, with overall positive effects shown in these areas. The best practice recommendations are consistent with an abilities-based approach emphasizing common group goals and interests; cooperative activities; mastery-oriented, individualized instruction; and developmentally appropriate, challenging activities. Results indicate that inclusive out-of-school time physical activity programs are important for positive psychosocial and physical skill development of children/youth with physical disabilities.

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Wesley J. Wilson