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Towards evidence-based classification in Paralympic athletics: evaluating the validity of activity limitation tests for use in classification of Paralympic running events
  1. E M Beckman,
  2. S M Tweedy
  1. University of Queensland, School of Human Movement Studies, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Miss E M Beckman, University of Queensland, School of Human Movement Studies, Rm 314 Connell Building, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia; ebeckman{at}hms.uq.edu.au

Abstract

Objective: To classify Paralympic athletes, classifiers use test batteries to obtain an objective, pre-competition estimate of an athlete’s training level. Five tests were evaluated to determine which combination explained the maximum variance in running performance in a non-disabled population. A non-disabled sample was required to permit psychometric evaluation of the tests without the confounding influence of impairment, and to provide an indication of normative performance.

Design: Sixty-seven non-disabled participants (male and female; mean (SD) age 24.78 (6.53) years) completed a six-test battery comprising a 30 m sprint (criterion activity limitation test) and five supplementary activity limitation tests: standing broad jump, four bounds, 10 m skip, running in place and split jumps.

Results: Test reliability was high for all tests (intraclass correlations  =  0.80–0.99). Pearson correlations with the 30 m sprint were moderate to strong for standing broad jump (−0.82), four bounds (−0.80) and 10 m skip (0.67), but weaker for split jumps (0.35) and running in place (0.19). Multiple regression indicated that standing broad jump, four bounds and 10 m skip explained 75% of the variance in running performance.

Conclusions: The test battery is reliable and valid in the non-disabled population and therefore has potential utility in Paralympic classification. Test results were normally distributed, a necessary prerequisite for meaningful interpretation of future studies in athletes with impairments. Further studies evaluating the battery in populations of athletes with impairments of coordination, strength and range of movement are now warranted.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Granted by the ethics committee of the School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland (number HMS07/0406).

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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