The future of classification in wheelchair sports: Can data science and technological advancement offer an alternative point of view?

Rienk van der Slikke, Daan Bregman, Monique A.M. Berger, Annemarie M.H. De Witte, DirkJan Veeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose:
Classification is a defining factor for competition in wheelchair sports, but it is a delicate and time-consuming process with often questionable validity.1 New inertial sensor based measurement methods applied in match play and field tests, allow for more precise and objective estimates of the impairment effect on wheelchair mobility performance. It was evaluated if these measures could offer an alternative point of view for classification.

Methods:
Six standard wheelchair mobility performance outcomes of different classification groups were measured in match play (n=29), as well as best possible performance in a field test (n=47).

Results:
In match-results a clear relationship between classification and performance level is shown, with increased performance outcomes in each adjacent higher classification group. Three outcomes differed significantly between the low and mid-class groups, and one between the mid and high-class groups. In best performance (field test), a split between the low and mid-class groups shows (5 out of 6 outcomes differed significantly) but hardly any difference between the mid and high-class groups. This observed split was confirmed by cluster analysis, revealing the existence of only two performance based clusters.

Conclusion:
The use of inertial sensor technology to get objective measures of wheelchair mobility performance, combined with a standardized field-test, brought alternative views for evidence based classification. The results of this approach provided arguments for a reduced number of classes in wheelchair basketball. Future use of inertial sensors in match play and in field testing could enhance evaluation of classification guidelines as well as individual athlete performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-749
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Volume13 (2018)
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Paralympic sports
  • wheelchair basketball
  • classification
  • inertial sensors
  • big data

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