Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport

Team members

Vicky Tolfrey

Professor Vicky Tolfrey

Centre Director, Sport Performance strand leader, Professor in Applied Disability Sport

Tel +44 (0)1509 226386

Academic profile Academic profile

Publications Publications database

Vicky Tolfrey joined the PHC as the Director in late 2007 and she also leads the Research Strand on Sport Performance. She is a Professor in Applied Disability Sport in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University.


  • PhD entitled 'Pushing economy and wheelchair propulsion technique of wheelchair racers', Manchester Metropolitan University (1999).
  • BSc (Hons) in Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University (1993). Awarded the Exercise and Sport Science Department prize for best all-round Sport Scientist.

Membership and involvement with professional bodies / associations

Vicky is a re-accredited physiologist and interdisciplinary sport scientist with the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) and a BASES Fellow. She received the award for ‘Outstanding Contributions to Applied Practice’ at the BASES 2005 Annual Conference, which recognises Vicky’s work in supporting athletes at Paralympic level.

Current research (and teaching) interests

Vicky’s research and teaching interests include: disability sport, wheelchair propulsion kinematics, elite sports performance physiology, exercise testing and interpretation, training and performance.  She has several on-going International collaborations in disability sport, which include work with Prof Lucas van der Woude, The Netherlands. Prof Kathleen Martin-Ginis (Canada); Prof Maureen MacDonald (Canada) and Prof Fumi Tajima (Japan).

Previous research and experience

After completing her BSc in Sport Science, Vicky was appointed as the Project Assistant for the British Wheelchair Racing Association (BWRA) whilst she completed her part-time PhD.  After completion of the work with the BWRA, Vicky went on to work with the Great Britain Men's wheelchair basketball team for four years.

Vicky has provided extensive support to disabled athletes at both the Atlanta and Sydney Paralympics. Her work with the British Paralympic Association (BPA) has meant that she attended the Cyprus holding camp for Athens 2004, the holding camp in the Far East for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games and London 2012 preparations. As an Advisor she was involved with the Rio 2016 preparations by contributing to the Paralympic Advisory Group of the BPA. She also currently acts as a Technical Advisory Group member for the English Institute of Sport.

Selected external income generation

  • 2015-2018 EPSRC Studentship (with Dr Barry Mason)
  • 2015-2018 British Triathlon Federation matched funding for PhD studentship
  • 2015-2016 Posture and Mobility Group (PI Dr Tom Paulson)
  • 2010-14: A 3-year Coca-Cola Active Healthy Living Grant with a research focus to encourage disabled people to become ‘fit for life, fit for sport and fit for success’ with Dr Brett Smith and Dr Lettie Bishop.
  • 2009-11: Research Grant with Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball Association.
  • 2009: Healthcare and Biosciences iNET - Research project to develop new training tools for spinal cord injury participants

Selected recent keynote and conference presentations

• Goosey-Tolfrey VL. (2015). The journey to London and beyond: Supporting the Paralympic athlete. 6th International Sports Medicine and Sports Science Conference, Marina Putrajaya, Malaysia, April.
• Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2015). Improving Paralympic performance. Vondel Games. Reade Adaptive Sports Event. Amsterdam. Holland. May 22nd.
• Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2015). The Paralympic Athlete – Common Performance Issues. Waseda University, Japan. 16th Sept.
• Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2015). Wheelchair Sport: Pushing from Atlanta to Rio – the Sport Science Journey. 70th Annual Meeting of Japanese Society of Physical Fitness amd Sports Medicine. 17-19th Sept. Wakayama. Japan.
• Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2015). Novel Approaches to Exercise Testing Symposium: Testing functional capacity in Paralympic athletes: Conisderations according to classification. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology’s Annual Meeting and Conference (CSEP): Where Science is the New Steel. Hamilton. Canada. 14-17 Oct.
• Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2016). Future Performance: How can advances in elite performance inform and support public health? (debate). Chaired by Prof Greg Whyte. Elevate Conference. London Olympia DATE: 4th May.
• Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2016). Racing the London Marathon on three wheels. The 33rd London Marathon Conference, RIBA, London, 23rd April.
• Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2016). Sharing best practice between spinal cord injury rehabilitation specialists and applied sports scientists supporting the Paralympic athlete. 53rd Meeting of the Japanese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine. 9-11th June.
• Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2017). Exercise performance in the heat - challenges and solutions for Paralympic athletes with a spinal cord injury. Invite Prof. Takeshi Nishiyasu in University  of Tsukuba, Japan. International Forum would be "Sport Science for Olympic and Paralympic Games."

Selected recent publications

Books/ Chapters:

  • Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (ed) (2010). 'Wheelchair sport: a complete guide for athletes, coaches and teachers. London: Human Kinetics.
  • Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L., Price, M.J and Krempien, J. (2014). Chapter 4: Spinal Cord Injured Athletes. In. Broad, E. (Editor). Sports Nutrition for Athletes with a Disability. Taylor & Francis. Pp. 67-90.
  •  Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. and Diaper, N. (2014).  Chapter 10: The Thermoregulatory Challenges faced by the Wheelchair athlete in Beijing 2008. In. Lane, A., Whyte, G., Godfrey, R. and Loosemore M. Case Studies in Sport Science and Medicine. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Pp. 66-71. ISBN-13 978-1499146943.
  • Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L., Paulson, T. and Graham, T. (2015). Chapter 16: Practical considerations for fluid replacement for athletes with a spinal cord injury. In:  Meyer, Szygula, and Wilk. Fluid Balance, Hydration, and Athletic Performance. Taylor and Francis. Pp.333-355.
  • Goosey-Tolfrey, V. and Mason, B. (2017). Chapter 29: Enhancing wheelchair sport performance. In: Adapted Physical Education and Sport – Volume VI, edited by J.P.Winnick. Human Kinetics. pp. 565-584.

Journal Articles:

  • Perret, C., Wenger, M, Leicht, C. and Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2016).  Locomotor-respiratory coupling in wheelchair racing athletes: a pilot study. Frontiers in Physiology. Jan 29; 7:11.
  • Graham-Paulson T S, Perret C, Watson P and Goosey-Tolfrey V L. (2016). Caffeine supplementation improves sprint performance in wheelchair sportsmen. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. July 13[Epub ahead of print]. PMID:26182441. 11, 214-220. Marc; 11(2):214-20.
  • Iturricastillo, A., Yanci, J., Granados, C., and Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2016). Quantifying wheelchair basketball match load: a comparison of heart rate and perceived exertion methods. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 2015 Sep 10. [Epub ahead of print]. 11, 508-514.
  • Leicht, C.A., Paulson, T., Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. and Bishop, N.C. (2016). Arm and intensity-matched leg exercise induce similar inflammatory responses. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. June; 48(6): 1161-8.
  • Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L, Keil, M., Brooke-Wavell K. and de Groot, S. (2016, epub). A comparison of methods for the estimation of body composition in highly trained wheelchair games players. International Journal of Sports Medicine. May 13.
  • Graham-Paulson, T, Perret, C. and Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2016, epub). Improvements in cycling but not handcycling 10 km time trial performance in habitual caffeine users. Nutrients. Jun 25; 8(7). Pii:E393.
  • Paulson, T.A. and Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2016, epub). Current perspectives on profiling and enhancing wheelchair court-sport performance. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. Jul 21.
  • Griggs, K., Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L and Paulson, T. (2016, epub). Supporting Paralympic wheelchair sport performance through technological, physiological and environmental considerations. Annals of Human Biology. Sept 8:1-3.
  • Graham-Paulson, T.S., Paulson. T.A.W., Perret, C., Tolfrey, K., Cordery, P., Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2016) Spinal cord injury level influences acute plasma caffeine responses. MSSE. Sept 23.
  • Rhodes J., Mason, B.S., Paulson, T.A.W., Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2016). A comparison of speed profiles during training and competition in elite wheelchair rugby players. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. Nov 11:1-20.
  • Leicht, C.A., Paulson, T.A.W., Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L., Bishop. N.C. (2016). Salivary alpha amylase not chromogranin A reflects sympathetic activity: exercise responses in elite male wheelchair athletes with or without cervical spinal cord injury. Sports Medicine. Open.
  • Bundon, A., Mason, B. and Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2016). Expert Users’ Perceptions of Racing Wheelhair Design and Set Up: The Knowns, Unknowns and Next Steps. APAQ.
  • Griggs, K., Price, M, Mason, B.M., Havenith, G. and Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L., (2016). Thermoregultaory risks of competitive wheelchair rugby match play. International Journal of Sports Medicine.