Translating gold-standard practice to help promote active and fulfilling lives
In addition to enhancing sport performance, our remit includes the promotion of exercise among people with a disability in the wider population by providing clear guidance on how activity can improve quality of life, wellbeing and independence.
In 2013, in partnership with the British Paralympic Association, we developed an Educational Toolkit as part of the Fit and Healthy project, funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation.
The Toolkit outlined the best approach to exercise for people with a range of disabilities – including spinal cord injury (SCI), cerebral palsy, amputation, visual impairment, and Les Autres – as well as the comprehensive benefits of regular physical activity. We estimate that the Toolkit reached more than 86,000 people within the first two years of publication.
In 2016, we were invited to lead an international team to develop a set of evidence-based scientific exercise guidelines for people with SCI. We challenged conventional thinking and marked an important step towards the creation of evidence-based international exercise guidelines for adults with SCI.
The research comprised a systematic review of existing information but, more importantly, consultation with people with SCI and their clinicians to ensure the guidelines’ acceptability and suitability. This work has since been shared with Asian rehabilitation medical staff to translate and begin to understand the landscape to developing clinical practice guidelines for adults with a SCI for use in Asia.
In 2017, we published The Very Alternative Guide to Spinal Cord Injury which has been welcomed by healthcare professionals. NHS spinal injury units are using it as a way of delivering support to new patients, and it has been praised for the way it “brilliantly combines” humour, information and support.