Trunk, pelvis, and leg movements are important for performance in sprint kayaking. Para-kayaking is a new Paralympic sport in which athletes with trunk and/or leg impairment compete in 3 classification groups. The purpose of this study was to identify how physical impairments impact on performance by examining: differences in 3-dimensional joint range of motion (RM) between 10 (4 females and 6 males) elite able-bodied kayakers and 41 (13 females and 28 males) elite para-kayakers from the 3 classification groups, and which joint angles were correlated with power output during high-intensity kayak ergometer paddling. There were significant differences in RM between the able-bodied kayakers and the 3 para-kayak groups for the shoulders (flexion, rotation: able-bodied kayakers < para-kayakers); trunk and pelvis (rotation: able-bodied kayakers > para-kayakers); and legs (hip, knee, and ankle flexion: able-bodied kayakers > para-kayakers) during paddling. Furthermore, athletes with greater impairment exhibited lower trunk and leg RM compared with those with less impairment. Significant positive correlations were observed for both males and females between power output and peak shoulder and trunk flexion; trunk and pelvis rotation RM; and hip, knee, and ankle flexion RM. This information is important for understanding how key kinematic and kinetic variables for para-kayaking performance vary between athletes from different classification groups.
Anna Bjerkefors, Johanna S. Rosén, Olga Tarassova, and Anton Arndt
Johanna S. Rosén, Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey, Keith Tolfrey, Anton Arndt, and Anna Bjerkefors
The purpose of this study was to examine the interrater reliability of a new evidence-based classification system for Para Va'a. Twelve Para Va'a athletes were classified by three classifier teams each consisting of a medical and a technical classifier. Interrater reliability was assessed by calculating intraclass correlation for the overall class allocation and total scores of trunk, leg, and on-water test batteries and by calculating Fleiss’s kappa and percentage of total agreement in the individual tests of each test battery. All classifier teams agreed with the overall class allocation of all athletes, and all three test batteries exhibited excellent interrater reliability. At a test level, agreement between classifiers was almost perfect in 14 tests, substantial in four tests, moderate in four tests, and fair in one test. The results suggest that a Para Va'a athlete can expect to be allocated to the same class regardless of which classifier team conducts the classification.