Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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Loughborough University

Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport

Monthly Updates

IWRF and the PHC Conducts Classification Research

4 October 2018

Once again it is time for the Low Point Challenge tournament to take place in Nottwil, Switzerland. Competition will be on the 26th – 28th of October. Full details can be found on the IWRF Calendar.

The low point game has been part of Wheelchair Rugby for many years and is a great opportunity for low pointers (0.5, 1.0, 1.5) to compete. This will often see athletes in more of an offensive and ball-handling role that they wouldn't normally get the opportunity for in the Paralympic discipline. The game still holds true to the values of the IWRF especially with its athlete focus, passion, and respect.

Partnerships continue to be a key to a successful sport and organisation. The IWRF's Local Organising Committees are part of this and the IWRF are pleased to announce that the classification research project currently studying the effects of arm impairment on performance in Wheelchair Rugby will be taking place alongside the event. This information sheet contains more details about this research project.

This project is intended to add to the body of evidence-based research that can help improve Wheelchair Rugby classification. Evidence-based research is one of the key requirements of the IPC Classification Code. As a participant in the Paralympic Games, IWRF is required to follow this Code. Research like this helps ensure that we remain Code compliant.

Confidentiality is important and any individual data will be protected. Any results from the survey will be handled by the IWRF and Peter Harrison Centre and made anonymous to protect the identity of individual participants.

IWRF President Richard Allcroft said "I always enjoyed playing the low point game and have often talked about how my most enjoyable game was probably the final at the low point tournament in Munich in 2003. It's now one of the IWRF’s plans to develop different disciplines of the Paralympic version of our sport. This can only add to the increase in popularity of wheelchair rugby. Having research take place will really help develop a world-class classification system"

Dr. Barry Mason, Senior Research Associate with the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, said “Having worked within the sport in a research capacity for just over 10 years now, it is fantastic to be able to work with the IWRF and the IPC to further develop the sports classification system. It has been great working alongside Viola over the past few years to understand more about classification in wheelchair rugby and to learn about some of the incredible work that has already taken place.

“At the low-point tournament in Nottwil, we will continue this collaboration but will also be working with researchers from the University of Padova (Prof Nicola Petrone & Francesco Bettella) in Italy. This ever-growing international collaboration should enable us to understand more about the effects of impairment on strength, but also the relationship to sports performance. I am very much looking forward to visiting Nottwil for the second time, as it is an incredible facility set within a stunning location. This will be my first ever low-point tournament, but I have been told this particular tournament attracts some of the best low-point players from around the globe so I cannot wait!”

Viola Altman, one of the most experienced IWRF Classifiers in the sport and a Visiting Fellow of Loughbrough University, said “Classification continues to improve so we can increase our understanding of how impairment affects the ability to perform in wheelchair rugby. In the past years, research was focused on trunk impairment. We gained some insight in the impact of arm impairment as a by-product of this research. However, this was not detailed enough to provide evidence-based classification of strength impairment in the arms in low point athletes. I am very happy with the opportunity to measure impairment and performance at a low point tournament, so this gap in our knowledge can be filled. The ultimate goal is to provide the IWRF with the best classification system possible, including the classification of low-point athletes.”

Peter Van De Vliet, IPC Medical & Scientific Director, said:“We are delighted that the IWRF’s classification research project, one of seven initiatives the IPC has provided grant funding towards, is coming to fruition. It is great to see an international federation turn their attention to a scientific approach of critically reviewing and further developing their own classification system to benefit the sport.  We look forward to seeing the results.”