The preparation of athletes with cerebral palsy for elite competition

Ferreira, Suzane (2006-03)

Thesis (PhD (Sport Science))—University of Stellenbosch, 2006.


Sport performance management has emerged as a specialization in sport science that is focused on providing the athlete and coach with optimal information about training programmes and the support services needed in order to pursue excellence. As a more professional approach to disability sport has grown with the international status of the Paralympics, sport performance management dealing specifically with athletes with disabilities requires development. The purpose of this study was to focus on documenting the delivery of sport science support for three cyclists with cerebral palsy training for the Athens Paralympics. A case study approach was taken in this research that provided sport science support to three cyclists. Documentation of the training experience of each cyclist over 18 months of training leading up to the Games, was accomplished by quantification of daily training as well as periodic laboratory testing. A comprehensive picture was drawn of training intensities, modalities and frequencies for each cyclist during each macro-cycle, with special attention to the following three variables. Power output and lactate Power output and VO2 max Peak and mean sprint power output (Wingate test) Two of the three cyclists perceived the support they received to have been critical to the success of their preparation. The investigator concluded that sport management has an important role to play in the development of disability sport at the elite level, and that a lot more hard training is possible for cyclists with cerebral palsy, than some coaches may have previously believed, especially in terms of intensity and duration.

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