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Evidence-Based Classification in Powerchair Football: Determining the Determinants

J.P. Barfield, Stephanie Williams, Madison R. Currie, and Xiuyan Guo

The purpose of this study was to initiate the development of an evidence-based sport classification system for powerchair football, a sport that serves athletes with physical impairments. Sport classification is designed to increase participation by minimizing the impact of impairment on competition outcome, and powerchair football lacks an evidence-based system of classification which is required of Paralympic sports. A number of approaches were used to build the theoretical model of sport performance (Step 2 of the International Paralympic Committee model). Key sport activities were identified through surveys of stakeholders and underlying determinants of those key activities were identified through game and database analyses. Current findings support drive control, ball control, communication, and adjustment to the ball as key activities in powerchair football with joint-specific strength and range of motion, sensory, and neurological variables identified as underlying determinants.

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Effects of Powerchair Football: Contextual Factors That Impact Participation

Aurelien Vandenbergue, J.P. Barfield, Said Ahmaidi, Stephanie Williams, and Thierry Weissland

The aim of this study was to identify contextual factors that negatively affect activity and participation among powerchair football (PF) players. Thirty-seven semistructured interviews were conducted with PF players (M age = 27.9 ± 8.2 years) in France (n = 18) and the United States (n = 19). Participants reported acute back and neck pain as the primary morbidities resulting from PF participation, with sustained atypical posture in the sport chair as the primary cause. Competition-related physical and mental stress were also identified as participation outcomes. Accompanying the many benefits of PF, participants recognized negative impacts of discomfort, physical fatigue, and mental fatigue. Interventions such as seating modifications, thermotherapy to combat pain, napping to combat acute physical stress, and mental preparation to manage state anxiety were all identified as prospective interventions.