Professor Vicky Tolfrey


Pronouns: She/her
  • Professor of Applied Disability Sport
  • Director of the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport

Vicky completed her first degree in Sport Science at Manchester Metropolitan University in 1993 for which she was awarded the Exercise and Sport Science Department prize for best all-round Sport Scientist. Following this, Vicky was appointed as the Project Assistant for the British Wheelchair Racing Association (BWRA) whilst completing a part-time PhD.

In 1999, she completed her PhD entitled 'Pushing economy and wheelchair propulsion technique of wheelchair racers'. 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 (1998-2002) and then embarked on academic career at the Manchester Metropolitan University (2002-2007) and moved to Loughborough University in 2007.

Vicky is a BASES Re-accredited and has provided applied sport science support to Paralympic athletes since 1994. Vicky attended the Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, and London 2012 Paralympic Games, and was involved in the Cyprus holding camp for Athens 2004 and the Far East holding camp for Beijing 2008. She led the applied sport science project for the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Association, overseeing the delivery of a programme of applied support leading to Rio 2016, and also worked with the GB paratriathlon squad. Vicky was involved in impactful work with these sports for Tokyo 2020 and is now involved with a number of Para sports-related projects for Paris 2024.

In 2005, Vicky received a BASES Award for Good Practice in Applied Sport Science and in 2011 was awarded a BASES Fellowship for her work in Disability Sport and mentorship of others in this area. Vicky served as a member of the International Paralympic Committee Sport Science and Medicine Group 2005-2010. In 2017, Vicky received the prestigious IPC Paralympic Scientific Award and was named one of Loughborough University's Inspirational Women in Sport. Vicky is editor of one of the few scientific international handbooks on sport physiology and biomechanics in adapted sports, ‘Wheelchair Sport’, published by Human Kinetics.

Vicky is the Director of the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport which is based at Loughborough University.

Professor Vicky Tolfrey talks about her research

Director of the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, Professor Vicky Tolfrey, discusses her research which is focused around wheelchair athletes.

Vicky's research areas include:

  • Disability sport
  • Wheelchair propulsion kinematics
  • Elite sports performance physiology
  • Exercise testing and interpretation
  • Training and performance

Selected Recent Research Projects and Sources of Funding

  • £2,750,000 awarded by the The Peter Harrison Foundation for the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport. Principle Investigator.
  • Wheelchair Rugby Support leading to Paris 2024 - Research Associate Position (2022-23).
  • British Wheelchair Basketball – What it takes to ‘Win’ – PhD Studentship (2021-24).

PHC Team Awards

  • 2017 Penny Mullen Poster Prize of Multidisciplinary Association for Spinal Cord Injury Professionals (MASCIP), on behalf of the international spinal cord injury exercise guideline team (£150).
  • 2017 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, Loughborough University, for the team of the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport; a reward to invest in new equipment, attend a conference or other academic activity (£5,000).
  • 2016 Extra Mile Award of School of Sport, Exercise and Health Science, Loughborough University, for the team of the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport (£500).

For projects, please visit the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport website.


Recent Invited Conference Keynote and Speaker Presentations

  • Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2017). The Paralympic Athlete: Common Performance Issues. 43rd Annual Meeting of the Japanese Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Miyazaki, Japan. September.
  • 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."
  • 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. (2016). Racing the London Marathon on three wheels. The 33rd London Marathon Conference, RIBA, London, 23rd April.
  • Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2015). Novel Approaches to Exercise Testing Symposium: Testing functional capacity in Paralympic athletes: Considerations 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 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). Wheelchair Sport: Pushing from Atlanta to Rio – the Sport Science Journey. 70th Annual Meeting of Japanese Society of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine. 17-19th Sept. Wakayama. Japan.


Featured publications

Latest 2022 published research: