Speed profiles in wheelchair court sports; comparison of two methods for measuring wheelchair mobility performance

Wheelchair mobility performance is an important aspect in most wheelchair court sports, commonly measured with an indoor tracking system or wheelchair bound inertial sensors. Both methods provide key wheelchair mobility performance outcomes regarding speed. In this study, we compared speed profiles of both methods to gain insight into the level of agreement, for recommendations regarding future performance measurement. Data were obtained from 5 male highly trained wheelchair basketball players during match play. Players were equipped simultaneously with a tag on the footplate for the indoor tracking system (~8 Hz) and inertial sensors on both wheels and frame (199.8 Hz). Being part of a larger study on 3 vs 3 player game formats, data were collected in several matches with varying field sizes, but activity profiles closely resembled regular match play. Both systems provide similar outcomes regarding distance covered and average speed. Due to differences in sampling frequency and sensor location (reference point) on the wheelchair (for speed calculation), minor differences were revealed at low speeds (<2.5 m/s). Since both systems provide complementary features, a hybrid solution as proved feasible in this study, could possibly serve as the new gold standard for mobility performance measurement in wheelchair basketball or wheelchair court sports in general.