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Optimising classification of proximal arm strength impairment in wheelchair rugby: a proof of concept study
journal contributionposted on 28.01.2021, 14:22 by Barry Mason, Viola Altmann-Van-Der-Donk, Michael Hutchinson, Nicola Petrone, Francesco Bettella, Vicky Goosey-Tolfrey
This study examined the relationship between proximal arm strength and mobility performance in wheelchair rugby (WR) athletes and examined whether a valid structure for classifying arm strength impairment could be determined. Fifty-seven trained WR athletes with strength impaired arms and no trunk function performed six upper body isometric strength tests and three 10 m sprints in their rugby wheelchair. All strength measures correlated with 2 m and 10 m sprint times (r ≥ -0.43; p ≤ 0.0005) and were entered into k-means cluster analyses with 4-clusters (to mirror the current International Wheelchair Rugby Federation [IWRF] system) and 3-clusters. The 3-cluster structure provided a more valid structure than both the 4-cluster and existing IWRF system, as evidenced by clearer differences in strength (Effect sizes [ES] ≥ 1.0) and performance (ES ≥ 1.1) between adjacent clusters and stronger mean silhouette coefficient (0.64). Subsequently, the 3-cluster structure for classifying proximal arm strength impairment would result in less overlap between athletes from adjacent classes and reduce the likelihood of athletes being disadvantaged due to their impairment. This study demonstrated that the current battery of isometric strength tests and cluster analyses could facilitate the evidence-based development of classifying proximal arm strength impairment in WR.
International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences