Biomechanics and energetics of basketball wheelchairs evolution.

International journal of sports medicine

PubMedID: 15895323

Ardigo' LP, Goosey-Tolfrey VL, Minetti AE. Biomechanics and energetics of basketball wheelchairs evolution. Int J Sports Med. 2005;26(5):388-96.
The aim of this study was to investigate metabolic demand and mechanical work of different basketball wheelchairs that represented significant stages of its evolution from 1960 to date. Four subjects pushed each model on a basketball court at different speeds (from 0.90 to 2.35 m.s(-1)). During the trials, oxygen consumption was measured. Also, the different forms of mechanical work involved in the exercise were investigated. The oxygen consumption decreased from the oldest model to the next ones, remaining then quite constant. This was also the same with breathing and pushing frequencies. Both the work against air drag and rolling resistance decreased, air drag always played a minor role due to the low speeds investigated. The total mechanical work was highest in the oldest wheelchair and lowest in the newest one. The efficiencies were found similar for all the chairs but the most recent one (less efficient). Already by the 1970's the wheelchair economy had reached an acceptable level, at least partially because of its improved ergonomics. Yet, when focusing on the efficiency, the surprisingly low value with the newest model suggests factors other than the economy (need of better balance, responsiveness, and ground grip) as determinants of the evolution of this device.