How Does the Ball Influence the Performance of Change of Direction and Sprint Tests in Para-Footballers with Brain Impairments? Implications for Evidence-Based Classification in CP-Football
Reina Vaíllo, Raúl
Sarabia, José Manuel
Yanci Irigoyen, Javier
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Plos One 12(11) : (2017) // Article ID e0187237
The aims of this study were: i) to analyze the reliability and validity of three tests that require sprinting (10 m, 25 m, 40 m), accelerations/decelerations (Stop and Go Test) and change of direction (Illinois Agility Test), with and without ball, in para-footballers with neurological impairments, and ii) to compare the performance in the tests when ball dribbling is required and to explore the practical implications for evidence-based classification in cerebral palsy (CP)-Football. Eighty-two international para-footballers (25.2 +/- 6.8 years; 68.7 +/- 8.3 kg; 175.3 +/- 7.4 cm; 22.5 +/- 2.7 kg.m(-2)), classified according to the International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football (IFCPF) Classification Rules (classes FT5-FT8), participated in the study. A group of 31 players without CP was also included in the study as a control group. The para-footballers showed good reliability scores in all tests, with and without ball (ICC = 0.53-0.95, SEM = 2.5-9.8%). Nevertheless, the inclusion of the ball influenced testing reproducibility. The low or moderate relationships shown among sprint, acceleration/deceleration and change of direction tests with and without ball also evidenced that they measure different capabilities. Significant differences and large effect sizes (0.53 < eta p2 < 0.97; p < 0.05) were found when para-footballers performed the tests with and without dribbling the ball. Players with moderate neurological impairments (i.e. FT5, FT6, and FT7) had higher coefficients of variation in the trial requiring ball dribbling. For all the tests, we also obtained between-group (FT5-FT8) statistical and large practical differences (eta p2 = 0.35-0.62, large; p < 0.01). The proposed sprint, acceleration/deceleration and change of direction tests with and without ball may be applicable for classification purposes, that is, evaluation of activity limitation from neurological impairments, or decision-making between current CP-Football classes.
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