Int J Sports Med 2017; 38(03): 177-183
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-121263
Physiology & Biochemistry
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Thermoregulatory Responses during Competitive Wheelchair Rugby Match Play

Katy E Griggs
1   Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, School of Sport and Exercise Health Science, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
George Havenith
2   Environmental Ergonomics Research Centre, Design School, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Michael J. Price
3   Department of Biomolecular and Sports Science, Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Barry S. Mason
1   Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, School of Sport and Exercise Health Science, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey
1   Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, School of Sport and Exercise Health Science, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 02 December 2016

Publication Date:
13 February 2017 (online)


The purpose of this study was to determine whether a player’s physical impairment or activity profile was related to the amount of thermal strain experienced during wheelchair rugby match play. 17 elite wheelchair rugby players played a competitive match, whilst activity profiles, measures of core and skin temperature, heart rate and perceptual responses were taken. Players were divided into 2 groups depending on their physical impairment: players with a cervical spinal cord injury, (n=10) or non-spinal related physical impairment (n=7). Total distance was lower (4 842±324 vs. 5 541±316 m, p<0.01, ES=2.2) and mean speed slower (1.13±0.11 vs. 1.27±0.11 m∙s−1, p<0.03, ES=1.3) in players with a spinal cord injury. Yet, the change in core temperature (1.6±0.4 vs. 0.7±0.3°C, p<0.01, ES=2.5) was significantly greater in players with a spinal cord injury. In conclusion, players with a spinal cord injury were under greater thermal strain during wheelchair rugby match play, as a result of their reduced heat loss capacity, due to their physical impairment and not because of their activity profile.

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