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Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey

The purpose of this study was to examine the physiological changes in elite wheelchair basketball players leading up to the 2000 Paralympics. Twelve male players attended regular physiological assessments on six occasions; averaged data of two sessions for each year were used. Physiological measures included body mass, skinfold measurements, peak oxygen uptake and peak power obtained during maximal sprinting. VO2peak significantly increased from 2.65 to 2.83 L·min-1 prior to the Paralympics. Training had little influence on the anthropometric measurements or maximal sprinting data. In conclusion, the GB wheelchair basketball players appeared to have high levels of aerobic and anaerobic fitness. The longitudinal physiological profiles leading to the 2000 Paralympics suggest that players improved their aerobic base while maintaining other fitness prerequisites.

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Victoria L. Goosey and Ian G. Campbell

Pushing economy and wheelchair propulsion technique were examined for 8 wheelchair racers on a motorized treadmill at 6.0, 6.5, and 7.0 m/s. Kinematic data for the sagittal view were collected by a video camera for two-dimensional analysis. Adaptations to speed changes occurred, initially by a decrease in cycle time and an increase in cycle rate, and later by an increase in the flexion of the elbow. At each speed there were large variations in pushing economy between individuals. The relationship between pushing economy and selected kinematic variables revealed that at 6.0, 6.5, and 7.0 m/s, economy was associated with (a) the lighter athletes (r = .89, .86, .83), (b) a greater range of elbow movement (r = -.85, -.65, -.63), and (c) a lower push rate (r = .73, .81, .63), respectively. Effects of lesion level and wheelchair design may be more important in explaining differences in pushing economy than differences in propulsion technique.

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Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey and Andrew D. Moss

To compare the velocity characteristics of wheelchair propulsion with and without the use of a tennis racquet, eight male wheelchair tennis players performed a series of 20m sprints from a stationary start. The maximum velocities reached on average 4.39 ± 0.74 m/s; however, they were reduced by 0.18 ± 0.06 m/s during the racquet condition. Furthermore, when wheeling under the racquet condition, the velocities achieved during the first three pushes were significantly reduced. The reduction in maximum velocity and relative velocity contributions while holding a tennis racquet may have been due to an ineffective push technique resulting in low effectiveness of force application. The relation of these parameters and trunk stability is discussed.

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Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey and Jeanette Crosland

This study described the dietary intake profiles of 14 female (F) and 9 male (M) trained British wheelchair games players. The M group showed significantly higher daily energy (2060 ± 904 vs. 1520 ± 342 kcal·day-1), carbohydrate and protein intakes than the F group (p < .05). The energy derived from carbohydrate, protein, and fat for both F and M groups were similar (53.6%, 16.9% and 29.3% and 53.3%, 19.0% and 26.8%, respectively), yet the carbohydrate intakes were slightly lower than those recommended for athletes. Only two participants from the F group showed adequate intakes of iron, and 19 participants from both F and M groups did not meet the dietary fiber recommendation but this may be related to individualized bowel management strategies. Overall, the dietary practices encompassed aspects of the dietary guidelines recommended for sport, but balancing the energy needs of wheelchair games play with the promotion of long-term health still needs careful consideration.

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Victoria L. Goosey, Ian G. Campbell, and Neil E. Fowler

Three-dimensional kinematic and physiological data were obtained from 18 wheelchair racers, to allow the relationship between pushing economy and kinematic variables at 4.70 m · s−1 (n = 18) and 6.58 m · s−1 (n = 12) to be examined. Large inter individual differences in wheelchair propulsion styles were present, which made it difficult to identify variables that were associated with pushing economy and indeed to distinguish key variables that were characteristic of an economical wheelchair racer. Furthermore, those variables associated with economy proved inconsistent across the two speeds. However, at both speeds a higher mechanical efficiency and lower push rate were associated with better economy (p < .05). It was also found that the timing parameters were important. In this respect most athletes tended to push through a similar push angle; however, push rate differed between individuals, suggesting that the magnitude and direction of the hand-rim forces may be important for determining economy of propulsion.

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Barry S. Mason, James M. Rhodes, and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey

The purpose of the current study was to determine the validity and reliability of an inertial sensor for assessing speed specific to athletes competing in the wheelchair court sports (basketball, rugby, and tennis). A wireless inertial sensor was attached to the axle of a sports wheelchair. Over two separate sessions, the sensor was tested across a range of treadmill speeds reflective of the court sports (1.0 to 6.0 m/s). At each test speed, ten 10-second trials were recorded and were compared with the treadmill (criterion). A further session explored the dynamic validity and reliability of the sensor during a sprinting task on a wheelchair ergometer compared with high-speed video (criterion). During session one, the sensor marginally overestimated speed, whereas during session two these speeds were underestimated slightly. However, systematic bias and absolute random errors never exceeded 0.058 m/s and 0.086 m/s, respectively, across both sessions. The sensor was also shown to be a reliable device with coefficients of variation (% CV) never exceeding 0.9 at any speed. During maximal sprinting, the sensor also provided a valid representation of the peak speeds reached (1.6% CV). Slight random errors in timing led to larger random errors in the detection of deceleration values. The results of this investigation have demonstrated that an inertial sensor developed for sports wheelchair applications provided a valid and reliable assessment of the speeds typically experienced by wheelchair athletes. As such, this device will be a valuable monitoring tool for assessing aspects of linear wheelchair performance.

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Victoria L. Goosey, Neil E. Fowler, and Ian G. Campbell

The aim of the study was to examine and compare the propulsion techniques of senior male, senior female, and junior male athletes and to determine the relationship between the kinematic variables and performance. A two-dimensional video analysis was performed on the 800 m finals (n = 23) at the 1994 British Wheelchair National Track Championships. From this, the angle of lean, elbow angle, and the cycle dynamics were determined. The senior male athletes achieved a faster maximum velocity (7.3 ± 0.3 m.s-1) than that achieved by the senior female (5.9 ± 1.0 m.s1) and junior male athletes (6.0 ± 1.0 m.s-1), resulting in a greater distance covered during each push cycle. The kinematic analysis showed that the junior athletes adopted a 5° more upright position and spent less time in contact with the hand-rim (25%) than the senior athletes. A moderate correlation was found between cycle distance and performance time (r = -0.68; p < 0.01). In conclusion, this study suggests that there are kinematic differences between senior male, senior female, and junior male wheelchair athletes.

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Barry S. Mason, Viola C. Altmann, and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey

Purpose: To determine the effect of trunk and arm impairments on physical and technical performance during wheelchair rugby (WR) competition. Methods: Thirty-one highly trained WR players grouped according to their trunk (no trunk [NT]; some trunk [T] function) and arm impairments (poor, moderate, and good arm function) participated in 5 WR matches. Players’ physical (wheelchair mobility) and technical (ball handling) activities were analyzed using an indoor tracking system and video analysis, respectively. Results: Trunk impairment explained some of the variance in physical (10.6–23.5%) and technical (16.2–33.0%) performance. T covered more distance, had more possession, scored more goals, and received and made more passes yet spent less time at low speeds and performed fewer inbounds than NT (≤.05). Arm impairment explained some of the variance in all physical (16.7–47.0%) and the majority of technical (13.1–53.3%) performance measures. Moderate and good arm function covered more distance, reached higher peak speeds, spent more time in higher speed zones, scored more goals, had more possession, and received and made more passes, with a higher percentage of 1-handed and long passes, than poor arm function. Good arm function also received more passes and made a higher percentage of 1-handed passes and defensive blocks than moderate arm function (P ≤ .05). Conclusions: Arm impairment affects a greater number of physical and technical measures of performance specific to WR than trunk impairment during competition. Having active finger function (good arm function) yielded no further improvements in physical performance but positively influenced a small number of technical skills.

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Andrea Bundon, Barry S. Mason, and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey

This paper demonstrates how a qualitative methodology can be used to gain novel insights into the demands of wheelchair racing and the impact of particular racing chair configurations on optimal sport performance via engagement with expert users (wheelchair racers, coaches, and manufacturers). We specifically explore how expert users understand how wheels, tires, and bearings impact sport performance and how they engage, implement, or reject evidence-based research pertaining to these components. We identify areas where participants perceive there to be an immediate need for more research especially pertaining to the ability to make individualized recommendations for athletes. The findings from this project speak to the value of a qualitative research design for capturing the embodied knowledge of expert users and also make suggestions for “next step” projects pertaining to wheels, tires, and bearings drawn directly from the comments of participants.

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Paul Sindall, John P. Lenton, Keith Tolfrey, Rory A. Cooper, Michelle Oyster, and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey

Purpose:

To examine the heart-rate (HR) response and court-movement variables during wheelchair tennis match play for high- (HIGH) and low- (LOW) performance-ranked players. Analysis of physiological and movement-based responses during match play offers an insight into the demands of tennis, allowing practical recommendations to be made.

Methods:

Fourteen male open-class players were monitored during tournament match play. A data logger was used to record distance and speed. HR was recorded during match play.

Results:

Significant rank-by-result interactions revealed that HIGH winners covered more forward distance than HIGH losers (P < .05) and had higher average (P < .05) and minimum (P < .01) HRs than LOW winners. LOW losers had higher average (P < .01) and minimum (P < .001) HRs than LOW winners. Independent of result, a significant main effect for rank was identified for maximum (P < .001) and average (P < .001) speed and total (P < .001), reverse (P < .001), and forward-to-reverse (P < .001) distance, with higher values for HIGH. Independent of rank, losing players experienced higher minimum HRs (P < .05). Main effects for maximum HR and actual playing time were not significant. Average playing time was 52.0 (9.1) min.

Conclusions:

These data suggest that independent of rank, tennis players were active for sufficient time to confer health-enhancing effects. While the relative playing intensity is similar, HIGH players push faster and farther than LOW players. HIGH players are therefore more capable of responding to ball movement and the challenges of competitive match play. Adjustments to the sport may be required to encourage skill developmental in LOW players, who move at significantly lower speeds and cover less distance.