Agitos Foundation Project Final ReportNews
We are delighted to announce that the project supported by the Agitos Foundation Project entitled “Improving reliability and validity of current classification methods for athletes in classes FT5-FT8 and T35-T38” is almost finished and a final report has been presented to IPC Agitos Foundation.
About the project
This project complements the current subjective descriptions of classes for athletes with hypertonia, ataxia and athetosis in IPC Athletics and CP-Football with more objective criteria, improving reliability of the decision-making. Nineteen international senior classifiers took part in this study, evaluating the impact of the impairment on balance, coordination, symmetry and fluency and arms impairment during the performance of 16 valid and reliable tests performed by 28 international athletes.
A group of experts met in two rounds (Spain and Australia) to design a system of observation categories to evaluate the impact of the impairment on the performance of 16 tests which measured coordination, balance, power, agility and sport performance. Tests were performed by 28 athletes that took part in the 2013 CPISRA Intercontinental Cup, from 10 different countries.
A data collection form was designed in an Adobe Acrobat Professional Software, developing a tool to record the impact that classifiers think that every test has on the performance**: (balance, coordination, arms impairment, symmetry and fluency), ratio-scaled as: 0 = ** has no impact on the test result; 1 = ** has a minor impact; 2 = ** has a major impact. This document was reviewed by three international expert classifiers (South Africa, Japan and Australia), and was optimized before data collection.
Data collection was conducted by 19 international senior classifiers, with a good expertise in IPC Athletics and CP Football classification. They also included some movement features for the decision-making that helps to improve the description of the current profiles. Then, the current project allowed the researchers to gather information to improve the reliability of the cutpoint decision making, with 3 major outcomes:
a) A list of tables for 16 motor tests where fluency, symmetry, coordination, balance and arm impairment is ranked from 0 to 2 (no impact to major impact on the test performance). These results will help use of the test during classification, because classifiers considered useful to evaluate some of this features in the currents classes profiles.
b) A ranking of features that the classifiers consider useful for the decision-making. This result will help to improve the description of the current profiles after Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, both IPC athletics and CP Football profiles.
c) Complementing b), we have now a list of features that could help the description of the profiles.
d) A ranking of test that is more useful for the decision-making for each cut-point.
This information will be applied immediately to classification processes in CP Football, and probably in the education of new IPC athletics classifier training.
Thank you from Raul Reina - IFCPF Head of Classification
This project has been a wonderful opportunity to share with many international colleagues our knowledge about classification of athletes with hyperthonia, ataxia and athetosis, both for IPC Athletics and CP Football.
11 international IPC Athletics Classifiers and 8 CP Football international classifiers completed detailed data collection about the performance of 28 international athletes. IFCPF would therefore like to thank all of them for their dedication and professionalism to complete the task for this project. Your input will be really important to improve classification of our athletes and furthermore, the information provided and the analysis conducted will be used for future classifiers training.
The methodology used on this project could inspire other research projects in our field or in other Paralympic sports. Due to the large amount of data collected in this project, the range of future analysis is very varied, ensuring the profitability of this project. This methodology and preliminary results will be presented at the Vista Conference next October.
IFCPF would also like to thank the research team involved in this project. To Professor Sean Tweedy for the opportunity to work together on the evidence-based classification research topic, along with Emma Beckman and Mark Connick for your contributions in the design of the data collection tools. As members of the research team of this project, we now have a great opportunity to apply these results and spread the emerging knowledge to classification and classifiers training.
Thank you also to José Manuel Sarabia from Miguel Hernández University and two students who took park at different stages of the project, Alejandro Sánchez and Samantha A. Cammidge. Without their participation it would not have been possible to accomplish the objectives placed for this project.
To CPISRA, and Koos Engelbrecht, thank you for your confidence in the leadership of Raul Reina on this project. This is a new step in our journey to improve sport opportunities for people with cerebral palsy and guarantee their “access to sport”. And thanks especially to Alice Holland for all her administrative support in this project, especially during the last weeks and the preparation of the final report.
We are grateful for the support of the Agitos Foundation for giving us this opportunity and an amazing chance to work with a group of excellent classifiers, colleagues and friends around the world, and new gaps have been stablished to improve the quality of the classification processes. GRACIAS to Jose Cabo for all your administrative support and I hope to have futures opportunities to work again together. Thank also to the other members of the Agitos Foundation Team who I contacted at some stages of this project, specially to Georg Schlachtenberger and Diana Franco.
We would like to share with all of you one of the major satisfactions of this project. Working on the final report, two international classifiers, one from IPC athletics (P.W.) and one from CP Football (B.B.), desired to donate the payment of their work. We agreed give back this money to Agitos Foundation (6.19% of the original budget), to be invested in other projects or development activities in paralympic sports. These actions are of high appreciation for those who love adapted and/or paralympic sport.
"As a researcher, professor and classifier stakeholder, now I have the responsibility to share with the paralympic family our findings, and I hope that all together contribute to the development of paralympic sport." - Raul Reina