Connick, M. J, Beckman, E., Spathis, J., Deuble, R. & Tweedy, SM. (2015). How much do range of movement and coordination affect paralympic sprint performance?. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise,47(10), 2216-2223. United States of America: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000000643
Introduction: Development of evidence-based methods of paralympic classification requires research quantifying the relative strength of association between ratio-scaled measures of impairment and sports performance. To date, no such research has been conducted. The purpose of this study was to quantify the extent to which range of movement (ROM) and coordination affect running performance in runners with and without brain impairment. Methods: Participants were 41 male runners, 13 with brain impairments (RBI) and 28 nondisabled (NDR). All participants completed a maximal 60-m sprint as well as a novel battery of five lower limb ROM tests and three lower limb coordination tests. Results: In the coordination tests, RBI showed significantly slower mean movement times compared to NDR on all measures (e.g., 0.54 s ± 0.12 s vs 0.34 s ± 0.05 s). Runners with brain impairments had significantly lower range of movement on five of ten measures (e.g., 25.9° ± 5.4° vs 37.0° ± 6.0°) and had significantly slower acceleration (0–15 m) (3.2 s ± 0.3 s vs 2.8 s ± 0.2 s) and top speed (30–60 m) (4.3 s ± 0.6 s vs 3.8 s ± 0.3 s). Five ROM measures significantly correlated with sprint performance in RBI and did not significantly correlate with sprint performance in NDR, satisfying convergent and divergent validity criteria. These individual tests explained 38% to 58% of the variance in sprint performance in RBI. Conclusion: This is the first study to quantify the extent to which eligible impairments affect performance in a paralympic sport. Five of the ROM measures significantly affected sprint performance in RBI and were deemed valid for the purposes of classifying impairments in classes T35–T38. This study is an important methodological step toward development of evidence-based methods of classifying impairments in classes T35–T38 and provides practical methodological guidance to researchers in this field.
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