The eighth and largest VISTA Conference concluded in Toronto on Saturday (24 September). The event gathered more than 300 sports scientists and researchers from 41 countries this past week to provide a forum for exchange on current information, expertise on Paralympic sport science and the Paralympic Movement.
This year’s event was organised through a partnership between the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO) and was presented by Pfizer Canada Inc.
“This conference was very successful,” said Marc-André Fabien, president of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “We thank the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto for their exceptional support. And also Pfizer Canada Inc. for being a fantastic partner.”
The theme of this year’s conference was: “Opportunities and challenges in Paralympic sport science and medicine support.”
“It was a fantastic conference,” said Dr. Yves Vanlandewijck, chairperson of the IPC’s Scientific Committee. “I would like to thank all the contributors for the quality they bring to the conference. Science is important because science brings knowledge and brings understanding and brings debate.’’
Britain’s Victoria Goosey-Tolfrey was presented with the Scientific Award on opening night (Wednesday 20 September) and each day’s sessions were launched by major international Paralympic sports researchers and scientists as the keynote speakers.
Those keynotes were Dr. Cheri Blauwet of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Rory Cooper of the University of Pittsburgh and Canada’s own Dr. Laura Misener from Western University.
‘’We are moving in the right direction with our impact,’’ said Misener in her keynote on Saturday morning. ‘’We need to continue to frame the changes we need in a positive manner.’’
The conference concluded at the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario and the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre for Ontario Day, presented by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario.
In total there were 132 oral and poster presentations, and 10 interactive workshops.
The first VISTA conference was held in 1993 in Jasper, Alta. and is the brainchild of Dr. Robert Steadward of Edmonton, the founding President of the IPC and honorary chair of this year’s local organizing committee.
The next VISTA conference will be held in 2019 in Amsterdam.