Evolution and Development of Best Practice in Paralympic Classification
Classification is central to the existence of Para sport. Paralympic classification systems define who is eligible to compete in Para sport and promote participation by controlling for the impact of impairment on the outcome of competition. This chapter explains the evolution of Paralympic classification systems from the early medically based systems to the systems currently in use and the development of evidence-based systems which are mandated in all Para sports. The methods used in evidence-based classification systems should be supported by scientific evidence. Therefore, in addition to the historical context, this chapter also describes some of the key practical issues relating to the development of evidence-based classification systems such as the levels of evidence and types of research studies that are required.
This project has been carried out with the support of the International Paralympic Committee to develop evidence-based classification systems in Paralympic athletics. Sean Tweedy, Mark Connick and Emma Beckman are members of the IPC Classification Research and Development Centre for physical impairments, which is supported by the International Paralympic Committee.
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