Functional Classification System In Disabled Sports- An Investigationn Concept For Top-level Swimmers

Por: Kunze Lutz Schega.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Over the last years there has been an increase in the importance of sport for disabled in the field of integration in daily
life. This is reflected in a growing interest in research and science, which are relevant for people with disabilities [1],
[2]. Equal rights for the disabled in society and in sport are the main goal. For the organisation of competitions between
persons with impairment a fair classification is a basic condition [3]. The type and degree of functional impairment is
estimated by medical diagnostic and a swimming demonstration. By means of the results of the tests the swimmer are
divided into diverse functional classes. To improve the objectivity in assessment, two additional parameters were
investigated, the passive drag in water (FPD in N) and the projected frontal surface area (FSA in cm2) during a pull try
with the "Portable Swim-specific Test and Training device (PSTT)" [4]. The influence of the both values on the
functional class of the athlete are investigated and discussed.

With the PSTT and a camera placed under water 103 athletes with physical disabilities were investigated how is shown
in figure 1. The tests were carried out in a standard body position (controlled by an additional camera placed on the side
of the lane) and with a standard velocity of vS = 1,0 m/s. The parameters passive drag in water (FPD) and the projected
frontal surface area (FSA) were measured. From the force curve an average over the plateau was estimated. The
circumferences of the camera picture (with defined distance) were determined and the included area was calculated
(FSA). Further the average of forces and the FSA were summarised for each functional class (FC). The relationship
between the FPD and FC were graphed and the correlation was estimated (correlation coefficient by PEARSON). The same
algorithm was carry out for the parameters FSA and FC.

In Figure 2 the parameters passive drag in water (FPD ) and projected frontal surface area (FSA) are represented in
dependence on the functional class (FC). The linear regression showed a negative correlation coefficient for both, the
relationship between FPD and FC (r = -0.95) and
between FSA and FC (r = -0.85). That means, with
increasing functional class (therefore with sinking
degree of impairment) both the FPD and the FSA
decrease. The differences of the FPD and the FSA
between the adjacent classes are not as strong for
the upper functional classes (from S6 to S9) as the
differences in the classes with higher disability.
There is a clear decrease in the FPD and FSA from
the classes S1 to S4.

With increasing functional class, the formation of "unfavourable" areas of drag in water, caused by the disability,
decreases. The parameters passive drag in water (FPD) and projected frontal surface area (FSA) showed a comparable
behaviour. This could be proofed with this study. Therefore both criterions could be used to improve the objectivity in
assessment of the functional abilities of disabled swimmer.

[1]. Doll-Tepper G (1998). AIE SEP World Congress, New York, Garden City
[2]. Sherill, C. (1999). Adapted physical activity quarterly, 16, 206-215
[3]. Daly, D.J. & Vanlandewijck, Y. (1999). Adapted physical activity quarterly, 16, 271-289
[4]. Schega L., Hottowitz, R. & Sommer W. (2002). Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt, Nr. DE10052618 A

NOTA: O texto com a iconografia está no anexo.

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