Backgroung: Wheelchair Rugby (WR) is a Paralympic modality created for individuals with tetraplegia or tetra-equivalent disabilities. Usually, WR athletes show a partial or complete loss of trunk
function, affecting the seated postural stability. Being an important factor of the classification process of WR athletes, it is important to determine how sport practice level influence trunk
function. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of sport practice level on trunk function of WR athletes.
Methods: Twenty-eight subjects were recruited from international (n=19) and national (n=9) level wheelchair rugby teams. Players of international team were younger and had in average
2.2 times more practice of WR and training volume than the national team players. Trunk function was assessed in terms of multidirectional limits of stability (MLS). Participants were asked to seat on
a force platform placed upon a wooden block and to lean the body as far as possible in eight directions indicated on a computer screen. Center of pressure (COP) coordinates were calculated from the
ground reaction forces acquired with the force platform. MLS were computed as the log-transformed area of 68% confidence ellipse adjusted to maximal COP excursion achieved for the eight directions.
Results: That was no difference in the MLS between international and national level players [2.4±0.9 a.u. vs. 2.6±1.0 a.u., respectively (mean±SD); p=0.617; Welch’s t-test for unequal
Conclusions: MLS are not affected by sports practice level. Our results highlight the utility of seated postural stability measures as a training resistant, valid measure of a
specific impairment, potentially contributing for the development of an evidence-based wheelchair rugby classification.