Sports for people with a disability have changed drastically over the last few decades, drawing an increase in public awareness, in addition to researchers and scientists.
In the 1970’s, researchers began to show further interest in the development of sport for people with a disability. Sport Science, the scientific discipline that studies the human movement with the aim of improving the sporting performance, found its application in disability sport. Sport Science incorporates research in areas such as physiology, psychology, biomechanics, performance analysis, nutrition and sports technology.
In 1993, the IPC established a Sport Science Committee as an indication of its commitment to the advancement of knowledge of Paralympic Sport. Since then, research has become a prominent feature on the agenda for the IPC.
In January 2011, under the patronage of the Medical Commission of the International Olympic Committee and guidance of the IPC Sport Science Committee, The Paralympic Athlete was published as part of the IOC-series ‘Handbooks of sports medicine and science.’ It is the first comprehensive guide to Paralympic athletes providing practical information on the medical issues, biological factors in the performance of the sports and physical conditioning.
The book begins with a comprehensive introduction of the Paralympic athlete, followed by discipline-specific reviews from leading authorities in disability sport science, each covering the biomechanics, physiology, medicine, philosophy, sociology and psychology of the discipline.
For more information on the IPC Science programme, contact Dr. Peter Van de Vliet at email@example.com.
The IPC is committed to furthering research in the areas of interest of the Paralympic Movement. This includes, but is not limited to research in Paralympic Sport, Disability Sport Classification, Sport Counseling, Assistive Technology, Athletic Identity Marketing and Branding, Development and Public Awareness.
The IPC currently does not provide funding for research projects. Funding must be secured by the research applicants through their institution.
Sport Science Research at London 2012
During and after the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the IPC Sports Science Committee will undertake a significant number of research projects. Click here to find summaries and descriptions for all of the research projects being carried out and which you can take part in.
All research teams wishing to conduct research at IPC events, IPC sanctioned competitions and during Paralympic Games must apply to the IPC using the IPC Research Application Form. Applications must be received no later than one year prior to the event. Successful applications will be announced by the IPC within six months of the competition or event.
All Research approved by IPC shall comply with internationally recognized ethical standards and research practices.
Previous research projects can be found below:
WADA – IPC Boosting Survey
Under the 2006 WADA Social Science Grant programme and on behalf of the IPC, the University of Alberta, Canada co-ordinated a study on ‘Autonomic Dysreflexia and Boosting’. In summary, 99 athletes, vulnerable to autonomic dysreflexia, participated in a questionnaire survey and only a little over half had previously heard of boosting. However, they were strongly opposed to the use of boosting to improve training capacity, enhance performance during competition, and because their competitors were using it. The study generated a series of recommendations that IPC will use as a guideline to develop educational programmes and revisit its event-boosting monitoring programme.
The full report can be retrieved from WADA: http://www.wada-ama.org/rtecontent/document/Bhambhani_final_report_2009.PDF
WADA - Sildenafil Study
The IPC is currently undertaking a scientific study on Sildenafil (Viagra) for WADA under the 2009 WADA Science Grants programme.
Sildenafil has a potential performance enhancement effect at very high altitudes. This has prompted members of the anti-doping community to take an increasing interest in this class of medications, even though research has not shown that they improve athletic performance at sea level or moderate altitudes. This class of medications is of particular importance to athletes with a spinal-cord injury.
Many athletes with a spinal-cord injury use these medications to treat erectile dysfunction of neurologic origin. Therefore, it is important to understand what effects, if any, this class of medications has on athletic performance in athletes with spinal cord injury. WADA approved and financially supports a study by IPC to answer the above question with a prospective, randomized, controlled study of athletic performance in athletes with spinal cord injury on Sildenafil versus placebo at both low and moderate altitudes.
The principal investiagor in the study is Dr. Claudio Perret, in partnership with experts from the Swiss Paralympic Center, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) and Georgia State University (USA).
Initial study results will be presented at the ACSM2012 Annual Meeting, San Francisco, USA from 29 May - 2 June 2012.
The VISTA conference is designed to promote and advance the mission, goals, objectives and reputation of the IPC and provides a platform for sport scientists to meet with experts in the field of sport for athletes with disability. Due to a need for greater opportunities to discuss and exchange knowledge, the VISTA Conference has become an important international event for elite sport for athletes with disability.
The objectives of the VISTA conference include:
To provide a forum for exchange on current information, research and expertise related to Paralympic Sport and the Paralympic Movement.
To enhance and promote cross-disciplinary professional interaction among sport scientists, coaches, athletes and sport administrators.
The target groups of conference include: sports scientists and researchers, classifiers, coaches/trainers, sports administrators and athletes.
Previous VISTA Conferences took place in Jasper, Canada (1993); Cologne, Germany (1999); Bollnas, Sweden (2003); and Bonn, Germany (2006 and 2011).
International Convention on Science, Education and Medicine in Sport (ICSEMIS)
In 2006, the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to join efforts to have one large multi-disciplinary, professional conference as successor of the Pre-Olympic, Pre-Paralympic and Sport Scientific Congresses which have been organized under the responsibility of the different partners previously.
The goal is to disseminate information about the most recent developments in the various fields of sport science, sports medicine, physical activity, physical education and the practice of sport. ICSEMIS is designed to be an interdisciplinary forum in which this process can take place.
The first ICSEMIS was held in Guanghzou, China, in 2008.
ICSEMIS 2012 will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, from 19 to 24 July 2012 and will be organized by a consortium of UK Universities (Brunel, Liverpool John Moores, Ulster, UWIC and Strathclyde). For more information, please visit http://www.icsemis2012.com/.
American College of Sports Medicine
In 2006, the IPC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the American College of Sports Medicine to identify areas of common interests in research and to work collaboratively to promote and advance new scientific and clinical discovery. The partnership includes topics related to the Paralympic Movement and athletes with disabilities in future ACSM Annual Meetings and Health & Fitness Summits.
For more information, please visit the official website of the American College of Sports Medicine at www.acsm.org or of the ACSM Annual Meeting at http://www.acsm.org/attend-a-meeting/2012-annual-meeting.