Classifiers and Classification
Classification plays a crucial role in every para and wheelchair sport. Classifiers are the people responsible for assessing athletes and placing them in a sport class that allows them to compete fairly.
Each para sport has its own unique classification system with its own rules, but at its core, classification is about ensuring that athletes with a range of different impairments are grouped fairly in competition.
Wheelchair Athletics (Para-Athletics), Wheelchair Rugby, and Wheelchair Tennis all have their own classification systems.
Classification systems have been in use in sport for persons with disabilities since the mid-1940s. The early classification systems were based on medical diagnoses, such as spinal cord injury, and were not specific for the unique functional demands of each sport.
However, more recent transitions from medical classification to sport-specific classification systems have resulted in functional classification, where class is based on an athlete’s functional abilities specific to the physical demands of each unique sport.
Functional classification systems ensure that athletes with a combination of impaired or absent upper and lower limb movement have an opportunity to play the sport and that the strategies and skills of competing teams and athletes, rather than the amount of movement of the athletes, are the factors determining success in competition.
Athletes are classified by classifiers who are usually individuals with backgrounds in rehab and/or medicine including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, physiatry, and more.
Becoming A Classifier
The process of becoming a classifier differs by sport, but almost always includes a training course and training period under the supervision of experienced classifiers.
To learn more about how to become a classifier, contact us today and we’ll connect you with upcoming opportunities in the sport you’re interested in.