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16 November 2012 | PR 12/204

Centre for Disability Sport to attend first ever ParalympicsGB sports festival

Izzy Jeffs

Team GB Wheelchair Rugby Captain, Steve Brown, at the Peter Harrison Centre before the London Paralympics

Loughborough University’s research centre for disability sport is already gearing up for the 2016 Paralympics.

The Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, internationally renowned for disability sport research, is exhibiting at the first ever ‘ParalympicsGB Sportsfest’ that will take place on December 3-4 at Surrey Sports Park, Guildford.

The festival will provide an opportunity for disabled people to try out different Paralympic sports and explore how they can get involved. It will also give them the opportunity to meet Britain’s Paralympic medalists from last summer. For more information about the event, see here

This is one of several projects that the Centre is involved in following London 2012 and looking forward to Rio 2016.

Dr Vicky Tolfrey, Director of the Peter Harrison Centre, said: “We aim to maintain our partnership with many leading athletes and coaches at a Paralympic level. The research that we do here at the Peter Harrison Centre tries to align the research priorities of sports that we work with and also ensure optimal performance is achieved at designated points throughout the training cycle.

“For example, leading up to Rio, a current project is investigating cooling strategies for wheelchair athletes, with the aim to assist athletes cope in challenging environmental conditions. However, we also want to disseminate our knowledge downwards so that we target a more grass root level of disability sport as well.”

One of the Centres current projects that aims to take advantage of the increase in interest in Paralympic sports is to produce health and fitness guidelines for people living with a disability.

The educational toolkits, that are being funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation and being led by the Centre’s Research Assistant Terri Graham, aims to raise awareness of the health benefits of sport and physical activity to those who are living with a disability, and also how to become fitter and healthier.

There will be an individual guide for each physical Paralympic disability category: spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, amputees, visually impaired and les autres.

The toolkit will also provide factsheets including practical examples and more detailed information on a wide range of topics such as relaxation techniques, autonomic dysreflexia, stretching, food labelling and goal setting.

These booklets will be released early next year.

The Centre’s focus is not just on athletes. They are also concentrating their efforts on rehabilitation exercise for people who have recently suffered a trauma and the benefit that exercise could have for them.

Part of this work is being conducted by the Centre’s health and wellbeing strand leader, Dr Brett Smith. Brett has also recently been involved in a highly publicised report, ‘Understanding the Health and Wellbeing of Spinal Cord Injured Adults in a Care Home’, which examined the effect of forcing people with spinal cord injury to live in care homes for the elderly.

With several ventures already up and running, The Peter Harrison Centre is going full steam ahead. Their new website has recently been made live - www. lboro.ac.uk/PHC, and anyone wanting to keep up to date on their activities and progress can by following @PHC_Lboro on twitter.

For enquires about the opportunity to participate in future research projects, contact the Information Officer for the centre, Katy Griggs, by email on phc@lboro.ac.uk.

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Hannah Bateson
Public Relations Office
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228657
E: H.R.Bateson@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the Best Student Experience in England every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 12 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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This page was last updated on Friday November 16, 2012 11:41