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The aim of this study was to evaluate the VO2max, peak blood lactate and peak heart rate among wheelchair basketball and rugby players. Thirty-eight wheelchair basketball and rugby players were purposively selected based on the following criteria: aged 18-50 years, actively involved in a wheelchair sport for at least one year prior to the study and had at least a minimum of 10% loss of function in the lower extremities. Results indicated that the paraplegics had a higher absolute peak VO2 when compared with the quadriplegic groups. When percentage differences were compared, it was evident that the “other” group (34%) and the paraplegic group (27%) were above the average group mean (1564.3 m?/min-1), whilst the other two groups were (21% and 15%) below the group mean, respectively. The results of the study have practical implications for players’ health and sport performance. It is important that athletes suffering from spinal cord injury or any other type of physical impairment establish some type of anaerobic/aerobic fitness specific to their sport. For disabled athletes, sport participation is imperative for optimising their health, functional ability and physical performance.
Aerobic fitness, wheelchair basketball and rugby, health and performance