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Jessica R. Fairbairn and Kellie C. Huxel Bliven

also advocated for the development of standardized injury definitions, reporting more specific injury information (eg, wheelchair athletes by class and impairment), and data collection systems to enable higher quality epidemiological research of disabled athletes. 1 Continued efforts by several

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Brent C. Mangus

The number of wheelchair-bound athletes training for and competing in local, state, national, and international sporting events increases every year. As participation increases, sports injuries associated with the training and competition of these athletes also increase. Medical attention for wheelchair athletes during training and competition should be provided by competent professionals. However, even with competent professionals providing medical attention to wheelchair athletes, injuries do occur. Typical injuries experienced by the wheelchair-bound athlete include carpal tunnel syndrome, various shoulder problems, numerous problems with the hands, and lacerations, abrasions, and contusions to all parts of the body. The ability of the wheelchair athlete to thermoregulate his or her own body is also an area of concern for those providing health care during practice and competition. More researchers are studying injuries and injury rates to the wheelchair athlete, and the body of literature in this area is becoming larger. Future research can begin to document the effects of strength training, nutrition, various conditioning strategies, the biomechanics of the wheelchair motion, and the psychological impact of athletic injuries. Although some physiological factors have been studied, many remain to be addressed in an effort to shed light on the injuries experienced by wheelchair athletes.

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Karin Roeleveld, Eric Lute, Dirkjan Veeger, Luc van der Woude and Tom Gwinn

To assess power output, force application, and kinematics of wheelchair propulsion in peak exercise, nine wheelchair athletes with medical lesion levels of T8 or lower performed a 30-s sprint test on a stationary wheelchair ergometer. Mean power output, calculated for the right wheel only, was 59.4 ± 8.5 W. The ratio between effective force and total propulsive force was 60 ± 6%. A negative torque around the hand and a not tangentially directed total force accounted for this low effectiveness. Since the subject group was highly trained, their technique was considered to be optimal for the given circumstances. Therefore, athletes who want to improve power output by increasing effectiveness should keep in mind the existence of a nontangential propulsive force and a braking torque applied by the hands onto the hand rim surface. It is likely that both aspects will be influenced by the geometry of the wheelchair, for example, hand rim dimension or seat position.

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Kenneth D. Coutts

Nine male elite wheelchair athletes performed a continuous progressive exercise test on a wheelchair ergometer to determine peak oxygen uptake. Three were paraplegic distance track competitors (SCI–TR), three were amputee distance track athletes (AMP–TR), and three were paraplegic basketball players (SCI–BB). Analysis of variance indicated a significant difference in the relative peak oxygen uptake between the groups, with the SCI–TR and AMP–TR groups having higher values than the SCI–BB group. No group differences were found in age, mass, oxygen uptake, ventilation, heart rate, ventilatory equivalent for oxygen, and oxygen pulse at maximal exercise. The absence of the mass of the lower extremities in the AMP–TR group has a significant effect on peak oxygen uptake relative to body mass, and relative peak oxygen uptake differences between individual SCI–TR and AMP–TR athletes did not appear to reflect performance differences in actual distance track events.

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Brent Hardin and Marie Hardin

This study explores the media-related attitudes and values of 10 male wheelchair athletes by soliciting their opinions and suggestions concerning disability sport print media. Using the “auto drive” technique for qualitative data collection, the analysis reveals four themes: (a) athletes are avid consumers of mainstream sport media; b) they use both mainstream and niche publications; (c) they do not want “courtesy coverage,” but instead, coverage focusing on elite elements of their sports; (d) they are unsure of media obligation in the coverage of sports involving athletes with disabilities. While the scope of this investigation is limited to male wheelchair athletes, the themes can provide a basis for further analysis and study in the emerging area of sport media research as it relates to disability.

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Ron Davis, Gale Gehlsen and Jerry D. Wilkerson

This study quantitatively analyzed the backward propulsion technique used by elite Class II CP wheelchair athletes. Six subjects, 3 males and 3 females, were selected from the 1984 International Games for the Disabled. The subjects were filmed in a staged setting during a sprint start for the first three complete cycles. A digitizer interfaced to an Apple II+ computer was employed to digitize the film data. A computer program served to reduce the data into linear and angular kinematic components. For the purposes of analysis, the foot propulsive movement cycles or thrust cycles were divided into the two movement phases of push and recovery. The results of the study indicated that the initial three movement cycles appeared to be characterized by longer push than recovery time, and wheelchair velocity appeared to be associated with recovery phase displacement.

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Keith Henschen, Michael Horvat and Ron French

The purpose of this study was to visually compare the psychological profile of 33 male wheelchair athletes who competed in track and field events, with previous results of able-bodied athletes. Based on the data gathered using the Profile of Mood States and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory the wheelchair athletes demonstrated a profile similar to that of able-bodied athletes. This finding was discussed in terms of mental skills that may be developed by wheelchair athletes because of their injuries, possible influence of medication, and higher level of demonstrated anger.

Considering that the human body is made for movement, it is a universally accepted fact that sports are one of the activities that are extremely healthy for man. Unlike the machines invented by man, the human machine deteriorates with inactivity. (Monnazzi, 1982, p. 85)

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Owen Spendiff and Ian G. Campbell

Eight men with spinal cord injury ingested glucose (CHO) or placebo (PLA) 20-min prior to exercise. Participants performed arm crank ergometry for one-hour at 65% V̇O2peak, followed by a 20-min performance test in which athletes were asked to achieve their greatest possible distance. Physiological responses during the one-hour tests were similar between CHO and PLA trials. At the onset of exercise, the CHO trial blood glucose concentrations were higher than PLA (p < .05) but returned to resting values after 20-min exercise. Respiratory exchange ratio responses during the CHO trial were indicative of a higher rate of CHO oxidation (p < .05). A greater distance (km) was covered in the 20-min performance tests after CHO ingestion (p < .05). Results show preingestion of glucose improves endurance performance of wheelchair athletes.

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Owen Spendiff and Ian G. Campbell

Seven athletes with low lesion paraplegia ingested a 7.6% 648ml glucose drink using two schedules of ingestion (4 × 162 ml per 20 min & 2 × 324 ml per 60 min) in a crossover design. Participants exercised at 65% peak oxygen uptake for one hour, followed by a 20-minute performance test. The cardiorespiratory responses during the one-hour tests were similar between trials. Plasma glucose concentrations significantly increased after ingestion and remained stable during the 162 trial, but reduced over time during the 324 trial. Free fatty acid concentrations increased for both trials but increased significantly more during the 324 trial. The results of this study suggest that the ingestion of glucose during exercise is the best strategy for wheelchair athletes competing in endurance events.

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Ian G. Campbell, Clyde Williams and Henryk K.A. Lakomy

The purpose was to examine selected physiological responses of endurance-trained male wheelchair athletes in different Paralympic racing classes (T2, n = 3; T3, n = 8; T4, n = 7) during a 10-km treadmill time trial (TM:10-km). Peak oxygen uptake (V̇O2 peak) was determined, and a TM:10-km was completed on a motorized treadmill. From this, % V̇O2peak utilized and the relationship between V̇O2peak and TM:10-km were established. During the TM:10-km, the following dependent variables were examined: propulsion speed, oxygen uptake, respiratory exchange ratio, and heart rate. The results showed athletes utilize a high % V̇O2peak (78.4 –13.6%) during the TM:10-km. There was a moderate correlation (r = -.57, p < .01) between VO2peak and TM:10-km. No physiological differences were found between the paraplegic racing classes (T3, T4), which suggests that there is some justification in amalgamating these racing classes for endurance events.