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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 275965, 10 pages
Research Article

Wheelchair Propulsion Biomechanics in Junior Basketball Players: A Method for the Evaluation of the Efficacy of a Specific Training Program

1Interuniversity Centre of Bioengineering of the Human Neuromusculoskeletal System, Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome “Foro Italico”, Piazza Lauro de Bosis 15, 00135 Rome, Italy
2Santa Lucia Foundation, Scientific Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Healthcare, Via Ardeatina 306, 00179 Rome, Italy
3Department of Physiology and Pharmacology “Vittorio Erspamer”, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy

Received 5 December 2014; Revised 21 January 2015; Accepted 27 April 2015

Academic Editor: Júlia M. Greve

Copyright © 2015 Elena Bergamini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


As participation in wheelchair sports increases, the need of quantitative assessment of biomechanical performance indicators and of sports- and population-specific training protocols has become central. The present study focuses on junior wheelchair basketball and aims at (i) proposing a method to identify biomechanical performance indicators of wheelchair propulsion using an instrumented in-field test and (ii) developing a training program specific for the considered population and assessing its efficacy using the proposed method. Twelve athletes (10 M, 2 F, age = 17.1 ± 2.7 years, years of practice = 4.5 ± 1.8) equipped with wheelchair- and wrist-mounted inertial sensors performed a 20-metre sprint test. Biomechanical parameters related to propulsion timing, progression force, and coordination were estimated from the measured accelerations and used in a regression model where the time to complete the test was set as dependent variable. Force- and coordination-related parameters accounted for 80% of the dependent variable variance. Based on these results, a training program was designed and administered for three months to six of the athletes (the others acting as control group). The biomechanical indicators proved to be effective in providing additional information about the wheelchair propulsion technique with respect to the final test outcome and demonstrated the efficacy of the developed program.