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Precompetition Anxiety and Self-Confidence in Wheelchair Sport Participants

Elizabeth Campbell and Graham Jones

This study examined the precompetition temporal patterning of anxiety and self-confidence in wheelchair sport participants. The subjects comprised of 103 male (n = 87) and female (n = 16) wheelchair sport participants who participated at national level or above in a variety of sports. All the subjects completed a modified version of the Competitive Trait Anxiety Inventory-2 (CTAI-2) which measured three dimensions of their normal competitive anxiety response (intensity, frequency, and direction), at three time periods preceding competition (1 week, 2 hours, and 30 minutes before). The findings suggest that wheelchair sport participants show a similar precompetition anxiety response to nondisabled sport participants. However, there appears to be some differences, particularly in the intensity of somatic anxiety symptoms experienced and the reduction in self-confidence just prior to competition. The findings also provide further support for the distinction between intensity, frequency, and direction of competitive anxiety symptoms.

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Psychological Well-Being in Wheelchair Sport Participants and Nonparticipants

Elizabeth Campbell and Graham Jones

This paper considered (a) the psychological well-being of wheelchair sport participants and wheelchair sport nonparticipants, and (b) the influence of competitive level on the psychological well-being of wheelchair sport participants. Psychological well-being was evaluated by considering mood, trait anxiety, self-esteem, mastery, and individual self-perceptions of health and well-being. Wheelchair sport participants exhibited an iceberg profile of positive well-being with lower tension, depression, anger, and confusion and higher vigor than the sport nonparticipant group. The sport participant group also showed significantly greater levels of mastery and more positive perceptions of their health and well-being than the sport nonparticipant group. International athletes had (a) higher levels of vigor than the national and recreational groups; (b) lower levels of anxiety than the regional and recreational groups; (c) higher levels of self-esteem than the national, regional, and recreational groups; (d) higher levels of mastery than the regional and recreational groups; and (e) more positive perceptions of their well-being than the national, regional, and recreational groups.

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Emergency Preparedness in Wheelchair Sport: Autonomic Dysreflexia

G. Monique Butcher Mokha

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Socialization, Subculture, and Wheelchair Sport: The Influence of Peers in Wheelchair Racing

Trevor Williams and Denise Taylor

This study examines the influence of peers as sport socialization agents in the context of a wheelchair racing subculture in the United Kingdom. Using participant observation and survey methods the study focuses on elite and nonelite peer relationships–those between nonelite racers, between elite racers, and between elite and nonelite racers–and the knowledge that is transmitted and exchanged as subcultural responses to wheelchair racing problems. Six main interactional socialization contexts are identified: buying a racing wheelchair, British Wheelchair Racing Association training sessions, local training sessions, domestic races, foreign races, and Great Britain national squad training. Within these contexts elite racers socialize their nonelite peers by passing on subcultural solutions to two sets of problems: those that concern the racing chair and those that concern training. The relationship between the individual and the collective is complex, but peers play a major role in the development and transmission of the wheelchair racing subculture.

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A High-Intensity Warm-Up Increases Thermal Strain But Does Not Affect Repeated Sprint Performance in Athletes With a Cervical Spinal Cord Injury

Thomas J. O’Brien, Simon J. Briley, Barry S. Mason, Christof A. Leicht, Keith Tolfrey, and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey

Purpose: To compare the effects of typical competition versus high-intensity intermittent warm-up (WU) on thermoregulatory responses and repeated sprint performance during wheelchair rugby game play. Methods: An intermittent sprint protocol (ISP) simulating the demands of wheelchair rugby was performed by male wheelchair rugby players (7 with cervical spinal cord injury [SCI] and 8 without SCI) following 2 WU protocols. These included a typical competition WU (control) and a WU consisting of high-intensity efforts (INT). Core temperature (T core), thermal sensation, and thermal comfort were recorded. Wheelchair performance variables associated to power, speed, and fatigue were also calculated. Results: During the WU, T core was similar between conditions for both groups. During the ISP, a higher T core was found for SCI compared to NON-SCI (38.1 [0.3] vs 37.7 [0.3] °C: P = .036, d = 0.75), and the SCI group experienced a higher peak T core for INT compared with control (39.0 [0.4] vs 38.6 [0.6] °C; P = .004). Peak T core occurred later in the ISP for players with SCI (96 [5.8] vs 48 [2.7] min; P < .001). All players reported a higher thermal sensation and thermal comfort following INT (P < .001), with no differences between conditions throughout the ISP. No significant differences were found in wheelchair performance variables during the ISP between conditions (P ≥ .143). Conclusions: The high-INT WU increased thermal strain in the SCI group during the ISP, potentially due to increased metabolic heat production and impaired thermoregulation, while not impacting on repeated sprint performance. It may be advisable to limit high-INT bouts during a WU in players with SCI to mitigate issues related to hyperthermia in subsequent performance.

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A Systematic Review of Influences on Development of Athletes With Disabilities

Nima Dehghansai, Srdjan Lemez, Nick Wattie, and Joseph Baker

Compared with mainstream sport athletes, relatively little is known regarding the factors affecting the development of athletes with a disability. Sport-specific training programs are essential to athletes’ successful performance; to create appropriate programs and strategies, a clear understanding of the nuances of development of athletes with a disability is important. The objective of this systematic review was to synthesize existing research on development in athletes with a disability and examine the key determinants of successful development and sporting performance. After a search of the Web of Science and SPORTDiscus databases, 21 articles were identified that met the inclusion criteria, which were assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool and categorized into 3 groups: training and practice, shortterm interventions, and long-term changes due to training. Among the studies, there was a disproportionate focus on immediate interventions and training programs and less on long-term development. The review reflected a lack of research on sportspecific development of athletes with a disability, which raises concerns regarding the effectiveness and appropriateness of current training practices.

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Velocity and Power–Load Association of Bench-Press Exercise in Wheelchair Basketball Players and their Relationships With Field-Test Performance

Aitor Iturricastillo, Cristina Granados, Raúl Reina, José Manuel Sarabia, Ander Romarate, and Javier Yanci

Purpose: To analyze the relationship between mean propulsive velocity (MPV) of the bar and relative load (percentage of the 1-repetition maximum [%1RM]) in the bench-press (BP) exercise and to determine the relationship of power variables (ie, mean concentric power [MP], mean propulsive power [MPP], and peak power [PP]) in change-of-direction ability, linear sprint, and repeated-sprint ability. Methods: A total of 9 Spanish First Division wheelchair basketball players participated in the study. All participants performed an isoinertial BP test in free execution mode, a 505 change-of-direction ability test, linear sprint test (20 m), and repeated-sprint ability test. Results: A nearly perfect and inverse relationship was observed for the BP exercise between the %1RM and MPV (r = −.97, R 2 = .945, P < .001). The maximum loads for MP, MPP, and PP were obtained between 48.1% and 59.4% of the 1RM. However, no significant correlations were observed between strength and wheelchair performance. Conclusions: Wheelchair basketball players with different functional impairments showed a nearly perfect and inverse relationship for the BP exercise between the %1RM and MPV; thus the MPV could be used to estimate the %1RM. This finding has important practical applications for velocity-based resistance training in that coaches would be able to prescribe and monitor training load. Conversely, the absence of association between BP performance and field tests might be due to other factors such as the wheelchair–user interface, trunk-muscle activity, or propulsion technique, apart from strength variables.

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Gritty, Hardy, and Resilient: Predictors of Sport Engagement and Life Satisfaction in Wheelchair Basketball Players

Jeffrey J. Martin, Brigid Byrd, Michele Lewis Watts, and Maana Dent

The purpose of the current study was to predict both general and sport-specific quality of life using measures of grit, hardiness, and resilience. Seventy-five adults (74 men, 1 woman) who are wheelchair basketball athletes participated in the current study. Twenty-six percent of the variance in life satisfaction was accounted for. Both hardiness and resilience accounted for meaningful variance, as indicated by their significant beta weights. Twenty-two percent of the variance in sport engagement was predicted; resilience and grit accounted for meaningful variance, as indicated by their significant beta weight. The regression results indicate that athletes reporting the highest levels of grit and resilience tended to also be the most engaged in their sport, and athletes with high levels of hardiness and resilience reported the highest quality of life. The descriptive results support an affirmation model of disability for the current sample of wheelchair athletes in that they reported moderate to strong levels of resiliency, grit, hardiness, sport engagement, and a high quality of life.

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Improvement of the Classification System for Wheelchair Rugby: Athlete Priorities

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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Expert Users’ Perceptions of Racing Wheelchair Design and Setup: The Knowns, Unknowns, and Next Steps

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.