The Aerobic Capacity of Physically Disabled College Basketball Athletes
•INTRODUCTION: Aerobic Capacity, otherwise known as maximal oxygen consumption, is the highest amount of oxygen consumed during maximal exercise in activities that use the large muscle groups in the legs or arms and legs combined. This occurs because as the heart becomes conditioned to breathing harder and more often, the heart muscle begins to hypertrophy. As the heart muscle hypertrophies, the muscle becomes stronger, allowing more oxygen to be transported to the lungs for gas exchange. A high VO2max is beneficial for fitness because the more oxygen you can take in, the more oxygen gets delivered to working muscles (Devillard, 2007). VO2max and heart rate are good methods in determining one’s cardiovascular fitness. There is not a lot of laboratory research out there regarding wheelchair athletes most of it has been through field-based testing. The lack of laboratory testing is often due to the fact that few laboratories have the necessary equipment. •PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the aerobic capacity of physically disabled college basketball athletes. •METHODS: A total of sixteen physically disabled college basketball players from the University of Texas at Arlington, volunteered to participate in this study. The subjects were separated into their individual teams (men’s and women’s) and came in on two separate days to test their peak and scrimmage oxygen consumption. On the first day the athletes came in for their aerobic capacity testing, seven males and eight females from each team participated in a maximal oxygen consumption test on a large treadmill with the chair that they use daily. From this max test, peak VO2 data was collected using a portable metabolic machine made by Cosmed. For the next aerobic capacity test, nine male athletes and seven female athletes scrimmaged, in their natural playing environment, for roughly twenty minutes while also wearing a portable metabolic machine. •RESULTS: Once the men and women completed both of their aerobic capacity tests, mean oxygen consumption and heart rate (HR) values, were calculated from the peak VO2 data as well as scrimmage VO2 data. For the men’s team, during their peak test, they had an average peak HR of 184 beats per minute (bpm) ± 6.24 and an average peak VO2 of 27.144 ml/kg/min ± 6.04. For their scrimmage VO2, they had a mean value of 20.109 ml/kg/min ± 5.43, and an average HR of 151 bpm ± 18.60. For the women’s team, during their peak test, they had an average peak HR of 179 bpm ± 7.15 and an average peak VO2 of 23.314 ml/kg/min ± 4.45. For their scrimmage VO2, they had a mean value of 14.521 ml/kg/min ± 2.66, and an average HR of 150 bpm ± 12.02. The data was analyzed by using t tests. There were no significant differences between the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams for the average peak VO2 (p = 0.195), the average scrimmage HR (p = 0.973) or the average peak HR (p = 0.231). However, the difference in VO2 between the men’s and women’s teams seen during the scrimmage was significant (p = 0.019). •CONCLUSION: The results indicated that there was no significant difference between men and women’s scrimmage HR, peak HR, and peak VO2, but there was a significant difference between men and women’s scrimmage VO2.