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Adaptive rowing is the sport of sweep rowing or sculling for people with physical or intellectual impairments. An adaptive rower is a rower who requires modifications to equipment, coaching and program structure to allow for maximum functionality of the rowing stroke. An adaptive rower may be a person who has, but is not limited to, Autism, limb amputation, joint limitations, blindness, visual impairment, paraplegia, quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Down syndrome, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Para-rowing, a term coined by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), defines participating athletes who have been classified by a FISA (World Rowing governing body) Medical and Technical Classifier and are placed into sport groups according to how much their physical impairment impacts the core functionality of the rowing stroke. The purpose of this classification system is to minimize the impact that eligible impairment types have on the outcome of a competition. FISA-sanctioned regattas require FISA-standard equipment to be used for competition. Whether an adaptive athlete is rowing for recreation or is on the emerging-athlete pathway to the U.S. Paralympic Team, the integration of adaptive athletes into existing rowing programs benefits everyone involved.
Physical Impairment. This sport class is for athletes who row predominately with their arms and shoulders. Athletes use strapping around their midsection to provide support and stability in the boat.
Examples of PR1 impairments include (but are not limited to):
- Ataxia, athetosis or hypertonia from CP, brain injury or stroke who use a wheelchair, with both legs and the trunk involved
- Loss of muscle strength equivalent to complete spinal cord injury at T12 level
Physical Impairment. This sport class is for rowers who have trunk and arm movement, who are unable to use their legs to propel the sliding seat.
Examples of PR2 impairments include (but are not limited to):
- Limb loss equivalent to a double around the knee amputation
- Significant muscle strength loss in both legs equivalent to complete spinal cord injury at L3 level or incomplete lesion at L1
- Ataxia, athetosis or hypertonia from CP, brain injury or stroke which affects both legs or one side of the body
- Significant permanently decreased range of motion in one or both knees.
Physical Impairment, Visual Impairment and Intellectual Disability (ID). This sport class is for rowers who have the use of their legs, trunk and arms, who can utilize the sliding seat. Note that ID is not an eligible impairment for FISA events.
Examples of PR3 impairments include (but are not limited to):
- Limb loss, at least full loss of three fingers on one hand, or at least a tarsal metatarsal amputation of the foot
- Loss of muscle strength e.g. equivalent to incomplete spinal cord injury at S1
- Minimal ataxia, athetosis, hypertonia. E.g. Cerebral Palsy, brain injury, stroke or MS, usually affecting only one limb
Inas/Paralympic* Eligibility Criteria for Athletes with Intellectual and Developmental Disability
In order to compete in events organized by Inas or Paralympics athletes must complete an eligibility application to provide evidence of intellectual disability based on three main criteria:
1. IQ of 75 or below (Weschler/WISC/WAIS, Stanford-Binet or Raven)
2. Significant limitations in Adaptive Behavior (Vineland, ABAS or Other)
3. Onset before age 18
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