Since the first Paralympics in 1960 there has been an increase in social and scientific interest in Paralympic athletes’ personality, their preparation, and their sport results. During the last 20 yr, researchers and practitioners have been focused on psychological-skills programs for athletes with disabilities. The purpose of this article was to describe a psychological-preparation program for Israeli Paralympic athletes. Two subprograms, the learning-modification-application approach and the Simulation Training Exercise Program, were adapted to athletes’ disability and sport demands. Two case studies, from table tennis and sailing (Sonar 3-person keelboat), are described to demonstrate how systematic sport psychology preparation can be effectively integrated into the training process of Paralympic athletes. Some recommendations for Paralympic athletes are presented.
Boris Blumenstein and Iris Orbach
Luca Cavaggioni, Athos Trecroci, Damiano Formenti, Luke Hogarth, Massimiliano Tosin, and Giampietro Alberti
increase in biomotor abilities (e.g., muscle power) over time reaching a peak value close to the main international competition in Paralympic athletes ( Loturco et al., 2015 ). During a seasonal plan, top-level swimmers showed a progressive distribution of volume and intensity-training variables ( Mujika
Daniel P. Joaquim, Claudia R. Juzwiak, and Ciro Winckler
This study aimed to assess the diet quality of Brazilian Paralympic track-and-field team sprinters and its variation between days. All sprinters (n = 28) were invited, and 20 (13 men and seven women) accepted the invitation consisting of 13 athletes with visual impairment, four with cerebral palsy, and three with limb deficiency. The dietary intake was recorded by photographic register on four consecutive days, and diet quality was determined using a revised version of the Healthy Eating Index for the Brazilian population. Physical activity was assessed using an accelerometer, and metabolic unit information was used to classify exercise intensity. Variance Analysis Model and Bonferroni multiple comparisons were used to assess relationships between variables. The correlations between variables used Pearson linear correlation coefficient. The results show that revised version of the Healthy Eating Index score was classified as “needs to be modified” for all athletes. The maximum score for the components “Whole fruits,” “Total vegetables,” and “Dark green and orange vegetables and legumes” was achieved by 23.1% and 14.3%, 7.7% and 14.3%, and 46.2% and 57.8% of male and female athletes, respectively. Only 38.5% of the male athletes achieved the maximum score for the “Total cereal” component. Female athletes achieved higher scores than male athletes for the “Milk and dairy products” component (p = .03). Intake of whole grain cereals, dairy products, vegetables, and whole fruits needs modifications to improve adequate intake of vitamins and antioxidants, highlighting the need of continuous actions of nutrition education for this population.
David Welch Suggs Jr. and Jason Lee Guthrie
Part of the goal of the International Paralympic Committee is to “touch the heart of all people for a more equitable society” by exposing people to adaptive sports, with the goal of improving public views toward people with disabilities. The authors hypothesized that exposure to parasocial contact with images of athletes with disabilities could lead to a change in attitude during the formation of social identity, disrupting the tendency to view the population of individuals with physical disabilities as “other. ” This case study found that viewing a documentary of a Paralympic sprinter produced in the same style as an Olympic feature appeared to affect the emotional components of attitude formation, especially when compared with respondents who viewed a comparable documentary about an able-bodied athlete. These findings are of interest to proponents of adaptive sports, producers of adaptive-sports media, and marketers who use athletes with disabilities in advertising campaigns.
Ben T. Stephenson, Christof A. Leicht, Keith Tolfrey, and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey
athletes regarding markers of physical and/or psychological stress. This topic is of particular relevance as Paralympic athletes may be at greater risk of excessive stress due to physical impairments causing movement inefficiencies, 17 thus heightening the internal load of movement, with impairments
Scott Douglas, William R. Falcão, and Gordon A. Bloom
(five of whom did not have a disability) and found they never intended to coach Paralympic athletes. They began coaching these athletes when an athlete with a disability came to their club asking to be coached. In a similar manner, McMaster, Culver, and Werthner ( 2012 ) interviewed five Paralympic
Rodrigo Rodrigues Gomes Costa, Jefferson Rodrigues Dorneles, Guilherme Henrique Lopes, José Irineu Gorla, and Frederico Ribeiro Neto
vertical jump, which has been associated with competitive performance 2 and used to assess fatigue in Olympic sports, the MBT is a fast, feasible, and accessible test that might be used to measure performance outcomes in Paralympic athletes. In specific populations such as the Paralympians, the null
Anne Marte Pensgaard, Glyn C. Roberts, and Holger Ursin
This study aimed to compare individual and situational motivational factors and the use of coping strategies among elite athletes with and without physical disabilities. Participants were Norwegian athletes from the 1994 Winter Olympics (n = 69) and Paralympics (n = 30) at Lillehammer. Quantitative data came from questions concerning expectations and satisfactions, and three instruments (Perception of Success Questionnaire, Perceived Motivational Climate Questionnaire, and the COPE Inventory). Qualitative data came from interviews. MANOVA analyses revealed that Paralympic and Olympic athletes had similar motivational profiles, but the Paralympic athletes perceived a more mastery-oriented climate, F(1, 98) = 12.6, p < .001. Both groups used similar types of coping strategies, except that Olympic athletes employed more redefinition and growth strategies, F(1, 97) = 6.72, p < .01. Paralympic athletes were also significantly more satisfied with effort and results. Paralympic and Olympic athletes were significantly different on only 4 of 11 variables.
Floor Morriën, Matthew J. D. Taylor, and Florentina J. Hettinga
To provide an overview of biomechanical studies in Paralympic research and their relevance for performance in Paralympic sports.
The search terms paralympic biomechanics, paralympic sport performance, paralympic athlete performance, and paralympic athlete were entered into the electronic database PubMed.
Thirty-four studies were found. Biomechanical studies in Paralympics mainly contributed to performance enhancement by technical optimization (n = 32) and/or injury prevention (n = 6). In addition, biomechanics was found to be important in understanding activity limitation caused by various impairments, which is relevant for evidence-based classification in Paralympic sports (n = 6). Distinctions were made between biomechanical studies in sitting (41%), standing (38%), and swimming athletes (21%). In sitting athletes, mostly kinematics and kinetics in wheelchair propulsion were studied, mainly in athletes with spinal-cord injuries. In addition, kinetics and/or kinematics in wheelchair basketball, seated discus throwing, stationary shot-putting, hand-cycling, sit-skiing, and ice sledge hockey received attention. In standing sports, primarily kinematics of athletes with amputations performing jump sports and running and the optimization of prosthetic devices were investigated. No studies were reported on other standing sports. In swimming, mainly kick rate and resistance training were studied.
Biomechanical research is important for performance by gaining insight into technical optimization, injury prevention, and evidence-based classification in Paralympic sports. In future studies it is advised to also include physiological and biomechanical measures, allowing the assessment of the capability of the human body, as well as the resulting movement.
Jo Ann M. Buysse and Bria Borcherding
DePauw’s (1997) theoretical construct of sport and how we view the body focuses on three socially constructed ideals of physicality, masculinity, and sexuality. Those who do not fit into these ideals are marginalized when it comes to sport participation and media coverage. In this study the authors examined photographs from 12 print newspapers in five countries during the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing to determine how Paralympic athletes were treated. They examined the number of photographs and the content of each to determine whether athletes with disabilities are portrayed as tokens who are marginalized or treated as elite athletes. The findings support DePauw’s construct and point to gender and disability differences and hierarchy in print-media photographs.