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

, 2018. 2. Tweedy SM , Vanlandewijck YC . International Paralympic Committee position stand—background and scientific principles of classification in Paralympic sport . Brit J Sports Med . 2011 ; 45 : 259 – 269 . doi:10.1136/bjsm.2009.065060 10.1136/bjsm.2009.065060 3. Rhodes JM , Mason BS

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Rafael L. Kons, Kai Krabben, David L. Mann, Gabriela Fischer and Daniele Detanico

Judo for athletes with vision impairment (VI judo) is a Paralympic sport that follows the same rules as Olympic judo but with one main exception, as the match is initiated with athletes positioning their grips on the opponents’ jacket ( judogi ; International Paralympic Committee, 2018 ). This

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David S. Haydon, Ross A. Pinder, Paul N. Grimshaw and William S.P. Robertson

Purpose: Maximal acceleration from standstill has been identified as a key performance indicator in wheelchair rugby; however, the impact of classification and kinematic variables on performance has received limited attention. This study aimed to investigate kinematic variables during maximal acceleration, with level of activity limitation accounted for using sport-classification scores. Methods: Based on their sporting classification scores, which reflect combined trunk, arm, and hand function, 25 elite wheelchair rugby players were analyzed in high-, mid-, and low-point groups before completing five 5-m sprints from a stationary position. Inertial measurement units and video analysis were used to monitor key kinematic variables. Results: Significant differences in kinematic variables were evident across the classification groups, particularly for the first stroke-contact angle (1-way ANOVA F 2,122 = 51.5, P < .05) and first stroke time (F 2,124 = 18.3, P < .05). High-point players used a first stroke-contact angle that was closer to top dead center of the wheel than either other group, while also using a shorter overall stroke time than low-point players. A linear mixed-effects model was used to investigate how kinematic variables influenced performance, with results suggesting that increased release angles (ie, farther around the wheel) and decreased stroke angles resulted in larger peak accelerations. Further investigation revealed that these results are likely influenced by strong relationships for the high-point group, as there was often no clear trend evident for midpoint and low-point groups. Conclusion: Findings show that various propulsion approaches exist across classification groups, with this information potentially informing individual wheelchair setups and training programs.

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Louise Croft, Suzanne Dybrus, John Lenton and Victoria Goosey-Tolfrey

Purpose:

To examine the physiological profiles of wheelchair basketball and tennis and specifically to: (a) identify if there are differences in the physiological profiles of wheelchair basketball and tennis players of a similar playing standard, (b) to determine whether the competitive physiological demands of these sports differed (c) and to explore the relationship between the blood lactate [Bla] response to exercise and to identify the sport specific heart rate (HR) training zones.

Methods:

Six elite athletes (4 male, 2 female) from each sport performed a submaximal and VO2 peak test in their sport specific wheelchair. Heart rate, VO2, and [Bla] were measured. Heart rate was monitored during international competitions and VO2 was calculated from this using linear regression equations. Individual HR training zones were identified from the [Bla–] profile and time spent within these zones was calculated for each match.

Results:

Despite no differences in the laboratory assessment of HRpeak, the VO2peak was higher for the basketball players when compared with the tennis players (2.98 ± 0.91 vs 2.06 ± 0.71; P = .08). Average match HR (163 ± 11 vs 146 ± 16 beats-min–1; P = .06) and average VO2 (2.26 ± 0.06 vs 1.36 ± 0.42 L-min-1; P = .02) were higher during actual playing time of basketball when compared with whole tennis play. Consequently, differences in the time spent in the different training zones within and between the two sports existed (P < .05).

Conclusions:

Wheelchair basketball requires predominately high-intensity training, whereas tennis training requires training across the exercise intensity spectrum.

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Jennifer L. Krempien and Susan I. Barr

Energy intakes of adults with spinal cord injury (SCI) have been reported to be relatively low, with many micronutrients below recommended amounts, but little is known about the diets of athletes with SCI. The purpose of this cross-sectional, observational study was to assess energy intakes and estimate the prevalence of dietary inadequacy in a sample of elite Canadian athletes with SCI (n = 32). Three-day self-reported food diaries completed at home and training camp were analyzed for energy (kcal), macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals and compared with the dietary reference intakes (DRIs). The prevalence of nutrient inadequacy was estimated by the proportion of athletes with mean intakes below the estimated average requirement (EAR). Energy intakes were 2,156 ± 431 kcal for men and 1,991 ± 510 kcal for women. Macronutrient intakes were within the acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges. While at training camp, >25% of men had intakes below the EAR for calcium, magnesium, zinc, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. Thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, and vitamin D intakes were higher at home than training camp. Over 25% of women had intakes below the EAR for calcium, magnesium, folate, and vitamin D, with no significant differences in mean intakes between home and training camp. Vitamin/mineral supplement use significantly increased men’s intakes of most nutrients but did not affect prevalence of inadequacy. Women’s intakes did not change significantly with vitamin/mineral supplementation. These results demonstrate that athletes with SCI are at risk for several nutrient inadequacies relative to the DRIs.

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William R. Falcão, Gordon A. Bloom and Todd M. Loughead

The purpose of this study was to investigate Paralympic coaches’ perceptions of team cohesion. Seven head coaches of summer and winter Canadian Paralympic sport teams participated in the study. Four participants coached individual sports and 3 coached team sports. Data were collected using semistructured interviews and analyzed using thematic analysis. The results addressed the coaches’ perceptions of cohesion in the Paralympic sport setting and strategies used to foster cohesion with their teams. Participants described using techniques and strategies for enhancing cohesion that were similar to those in nondisability sport, such as task-related activities, goal setting, and regularly communicating with their athletes. They also listed how cohesion was distinct to the Paralympic setting, such as the importance of interpersonal activities to build social cohesion. The implications of these results for coaching athletes with a disability are also presented.

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Floor Morriën, Matthew J. D. Taylor and Florentina J. Hettinga

Purpose:

To provide an overview of biomechanical studies in Paralympic research and their relevance for performance in Paralympic sports.

Methods:

The search terms paralympic biomechanics, paralympic sport performance, paralympic athlete performance, and paralympic athlete were entered into the electronic database PubMed.

Results:

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.

Conclusions:

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.

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Thomas Paulson and Victoria Goosey-Tolfrey

Despite the growing interest in Paralympic sport, the evidence base for supporting elite wheelchair sport performance remains in its infancy when compared with able-bodied (AB) sport. Subsequently, current practice is often based on theory adapted from AB guidelines, with a heavy reliance on anecdotal evidence and practitioner experience. Many principles in training prescription and performance monitoring with wheelchair athletes are directly transferable from AB practice, including the periodization and tapering of athlete loads around competition, yet considerations for the physiological consequences of an athlete’s impairment and the interface between athlete and equipment are vital when targeting interventions to optimize in-competition performance. Researchers and practitioners are faced with the challenge of identifying and implementing reliable protocols that detect small but meaningful changes in impairment-specific physical capacities and on-court performance. Technologies to profile both linear and rotational on-court performance are an essential component of sport-science support to understand sport-specific movement profiles and prescribe training intensities. In addition, an individualized approach to the prescription of athlete training and optimization of the “wheelchair–user interface” is required, accounting for an athlete’s anthropometrics, sports classification, and positional role on court. In addition to enhancing physical capacities, interventions must focus on the integration of the athlete and his or her equipment, as well as techniques for limiting environmental influence on performance. Taken together, the optimization of wheelchair sport performance requires a multidisciplinary approach based on the individual requirements of each athlete.

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Anna Bjerkefors, Johanna S. Rosén, Olga Tarassova and Anton Arndt

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.

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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.