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Lieselot Decroix, Kevin De Pauw, Carl Foster and Romain Meeusen

Aim:

To review current cycling-related sport-science literature to formulate guidelines to classify female subject groups and to compare this classification system for female subject groups with the classification system for male subject groups.

Methods:

A database of 82 papers that described female subject groups containing information on preexperimental maximal cycle-protocol designs, terminology, biometrical and physiological parameters, and cycling experience was analyzed. Subject groups were divided into performance levels (PLs), according to the nomenclature. Body mass, body-mass index, maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), peak power output (PPO), and training status were compared between PLs and between female and male PLs.

Results:

Five female PLs were defined, representing untrained, active, trained, well-trained, and professional female subjects. VO2max and PPO significantly increased with PL, except for PL3 and PL4 (P < .01). For each PL, significant differences were observed in absolute and relative VO2max and PPO between male and female subject groups. Relative VO2max is the most cited parameter for female subject groups and is proposed as the principal parameter to classify the groups.

Conclusion:

This systematic review shows the large variety in the description of female subject groups in the existing literature. The authors propose a standardized preexperimental testing protocol and guidelines to classify female subject groups into 5 PLs based on relative VO2max, relative PPO, training status, absolute VO2max, and absolute PPO.

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Elroy J. Aguiar, Zachary R. Gould, Scott W. Ducharme, Chris C. Moore, Aston K. McCullough and Catrine Tudor-Locke

overground walking. In addition, these 3 studies all constrained cadence or speed in some fashion (eg, using rhythmic auditory cuing or timing). To our knowledge, no studies have examined the classification accuracy of ≥100 steps/min to predict minimally moderate intensity (≥3 METs) during overground walking

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Colin Higgs, Pamela Babstock, Joan Buck and Christine Parsons

A total of 4,698 performances by 904 athletes from 46 countries were analyzed to answer the following questions: (a) Were there significant differences in performance between athletes in each of the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation (ISMGF) medical classifications? (b) To what extent did the classification system yield consistent results across events? (c) To what extent did performance discriminate between athletes in the various classes? (d) What classification systems would the performance data support? The analysis indicated that not all classes differed significantly from all other classes in performance and that there were different patterns of interclass performance between the track events and the throws. Individual athletic performance was shown not to be a good discriminator of medical classification, particularly for paraplegics. The data supported a reduction in the number of classifications from 7 to 3 in track and from 8 to 4 classes in the throws.

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

Paralympic sports, a classification system exists in order to minimize the impact of impairment on the outcomes of competition. 2 Classification in WR is largely dependent on the physical assessment of trunk and arm function. Point scores between 0 and 1.5 are awarded to represent trunk function. Both arms

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Roberta Gaspar, Natalia Padula, Tatiana B. Freitas, João P.J. de Oliveira and Camila Torriani-Pasin

necessary to analyze interventions based on available physical exercises in order to provide evidence-based recommendations. 14 – 16 The ability to describe, classify, and code information and measures on a wide range of health issues requires common structures and language. The International Classification

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Viola C. Altmann, Jacques Van Limbeek, Anne L. Hart and Yves C. Vanlandewijck

A representative sample (N = 302) of the wheelchair rugby population responded to a survey about the classification system based on prioritized items by International Wheelchair Rugby Federation members. Respondents stated, "The classification system is accurate but needs adjustments" (56%), "Any athlete with tetraequivalent impairment should be allowed to compete" (72%), "Athletes with cerebral palsy and other coordination impairments should be classified with a system different than the current one" (75%), and "The maximal value for trunk should be increased from 1.0 to 1.5" (67%). A minority stated, "Wheelchair rugby should only be open to spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions" (36%) and "There should be a 4.0 class" (33%). Results strongly indicated that athletes and stakeholders want adjustments to the classification system in two areas: a focus on evaluation of athletes with impairments other than loss of muscle power caused by spinal cord injury and changes in classification of trunk impairment.

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Daniel J. Daly and Yves Vanlandewijck

In disability swimming, a functional classification system is used in which swimmers with varying impairments compete against each other in one of 10 classes. In classification research, the criterion most often used to judge validity (fairness) is statistical difference in race performance between adjacent classes. Additional criteria are proposed here. First, the world-record swimming speed should decrease in a predictable manner with decreasing functional class. Second, classes should be clearly discriminated by race performances. To aid in evaluating these criteria, a comparison of the competitiveness (depth of the field) of the classes is made. The criteria were not strictly met in all classes. However, the sprint freestyle events approached fairness, especially for men. The exceptions were more due to a lack of maturity of the sport than to fundamental unfairness. Because of the more complex nature of breaststroke, more problems were observed related to classification fairness in this event.

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Debbie Van Biesen, Jennifer Mactavish, Janne Kerremans and Yves C. Vanlandewijck

Evidence-based classification systems in Paralympic sport require knowledge of the underlying effect of impairment in a specific sport. This study investigated the relationship between cognition and tactical proficiency in 88 well-trained table tennis players with intellectual disability (ID; 29 women, 59 men, M ± SD IQ 59.9 ± 9.6). Data were collected at 3 competitions sanctioned by the International Federation for Para-Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities (INAS). A generic cognitive test consisting of 8 neuropsychological subtests was used to assess cognitive abilities relevant to sport (reaction time, processing speed, and decision speed; spatial visualization; fluid reasoning; memory; executive functioning; and visual processing). The backward stepwise-regression analysis model revealed that 18% of the variance in tactical proficiency was attributed to spatial visualization and simple reaction time. Applications of these findings resulted in an evidence-based classification system that led to the reinclusion of athletes with ID in Paralympic table tennis and provide the basis for future research in this important area.

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James M. Rhodes, Barry S. Mason, Bertrand Perrat, Martin J. Smith, Laurie A. Malone and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey

Purpose:

To quantify the activity profiles of elite wheelchair rugby (WCR) players and establish classification-specific arbitrary speed zones. In addition, indicators of fatigue during full matches were explored.

Methods:

Seventy-five elite WCR players from 11 national teams were monitored using a radio-frequency-based, indoor tracking system across 2 international tournaments. Players who participated in complete quarters (n = 75) and full matches (n = 25) were included and grouped by their International Wheelchair Rugby Federation functional classification: groups I (0.5), II (1.0–1.5), III (2.0–2.5), and IV (3.0–3.5).

Results:

During a typical quarter, significant increases in total distance (m), relative distance (m/min), and mean speed (m/s) were associated with an increase in classification group (P < .001), with the exception of groups III and IV. However, group IV players achieved significantly higher peak speeds (3.82 ± 0.31 m/s) than groups I (2.99 ± 0.28 m/s), II (3.44 ± 0.26 m/s), and III (3.67 ± 0.32 m/s). Groups I and II differed significantly in match intensity during very-low/low-speed zones and the number of high-intensity activities in comparison with groups III and IV (P < .001). Full-match analysis revealed that activity profiles did not differ significantly between quarters.

Conclusions:

Notable differences in the volume of activity were displayed across the functional classification groups. However, the specific on-court requirements of defensive (I and II) and offensive (III and IV) match roles appeared to influence the intensity of match activities, and consequently training prescription should be structured accordingly.

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Sheng K. Wu and Trevor Williams

The aim was to analyze the relationship between performance and classes of swimmers and between types of physical impairments and medal winners. Participants were 374 swimmers at the 1996 Paralympic Games with six types of impairments: poliomyelitis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, amputation, dysmelia, and les autres. Data included performance times, gender, classification, swimming stroke and distance, and type of impairment. ANOVA and Spearman rank correlation treatment of data revealed significant differences in swimmers’ mean speeds across classes and positive correlations in swimmers’ classes and swimming speeds in all male and female events; no type of impairment dominated the opportunity to participate, win medals, or advance to the finals. It was concluded that the current swimming classification system is effective with respect to generating fair competition for most swimmers.