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Workshop – The Paralympic Athlete: An Applied Perspective

The Paralympic Athlete: An Applied Perspective is a workshop in association with the English Institute of Sport, the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport and the NCSEM East Midlands.

Thursday 28 April 2016
National Centre for Sport Exercise and Medicine – East Midlands, Loughborough University


Applied scientific support programmes for Paralympic athletes are often based on theory for non-disabled athletes, yet due to the nature and extent of the many physical impairments, this training knowledge may not be directly transferable. This workshop brings together a multi-disciplinary team of experts from physiology, strength and conditioning, and sports nutrition that specialise in supporting Paralympic athletes. Together with Paralympic athletes themselves, they will illustrate how they apply evidence-based practice in their work and provide a unique insight into supporting the Paralympic athlete.

Learning outcomes

  • Develop a philosophy pertinent to the delivery of support services to Paralympic athletes
  • Develop an appreciation for some of the unique aspects of Paralympic support and skills required
  • Recognise some of the key limitations and adaptations to training/performance in the main Paralympic impairment groups
  • Gain an insight into the application of support services to enhance Paralympic performance and health

Who should attend

Students, BASES SE students, practitioners, physiologists, nutritionists, strength and conditioning coaches.


Nik Diaper is a BASES Accredited Sport and Exercise Scientist and the EIS Head of Sport Science and Sport Medicine for Paralympic Sports. Nik has worked in elite Paralympic sport for 13 years, during which time he has attended four Paralympic Games. In his current role Nik is responsible for ensuring that the EIS has the technical Paralympic knowledge required to deliver bespoke performance solutions for Paralympic sports and the Paralympic high performance system in order to deliver the mission of 121 medals in Rio.

Luke Sweet is a strength and conditioning coach with the English Institute of Sport working with GB Canoeing Paracanoe team where he also serves as an Applied Sport Scientist. He is also the Paralympic Technical lead for the EIS. Luke has been with the EIS for several years and has a worked largely with Paralympic athletes. The GB Paracanoe team are based in Nottingham where Luke operates full time together with a full coaching staff and medical team.

Terri Paulson currently works as an EIS Performance Nutritionist with British Triathlon (maternity cover). She works with Paralympic triathletes with various physical impairments on a daily basis. She also leads the nutrition programme for England and Wales Disability Cricket. Terri is also a part-time PhD student at the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport examining the use and effectiveness of nutritional supplements in athletes with physical impairments.

Dr Tom Paulson is an Applied Sport Scientist with GB Wheelchair Rugby (GBWR) and has a PhD from Loughborough University which explored the prescription of exercise in individuals with a spinal cord injury. Tom is responsible for the physical/physiological profiling of the GBWR Elite and Talent Development squads. Tom’s role also includes the daily monitoring of athlete health and training-load and working alongside GBWR’s multi-disciplinary support team and Head Coach to prepare and monitor individualised athlete performance plans.

Professor Vicky Tolfrey (FBASES) is a BASES Accredited Sport and Exercise Scientist, the Director of the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport and is a professor in applied disability sport at Loughborough University. She has provided applied sport science support to Paralympic athletes since 1994, and attended several International competitions including the Paralympic Games/ holding camps. She acts as a sport science consultant for the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Association and Para-Triathlon squads, over-seeing the delivery of a programme of applied support leading to Rio 2016.