Adaptation of Paralympic athletes

Innovation Technology of Evaluation of Adaptation of Paralympic athletes to High Altitudes and Its Relation to the Properties of the Nervous System


Alexander Drozdovski*; Irina Gromova* ; Konstantin Korotkov**, Oleg Shelkov**


* Paralympic Team of Russia, Moscow, Russia.

**Saint Petersburg Federal Research Institute of Physical Culture and Sport; St. Petersburg, Russia.

To cite this article:

Drozdovski A., Gromova I., Korotkov K. The Psycho-physiological Adaptation of Paralympic athletes to High Altitudes and Its Relation to the Properties of the Nervous System. . International Journal of Psychology and Behavioural Science. Vol. x, No. x, 2014

Abstract: Results of the investigation of Paralympians (skiers, biathletes, athletes with lesions of the musculoskeletal system) adaptation to high altitudes during the pre-competition and competition periods, as well as a search for specific psychophysiological qualities contributing to successful adaptation to high-altitude training and competition burdens is presented in this paper. The athletes included 2 women and 12 men; 6 athletes of top level, age 32.5+/-8, (LW5/7, LW6, LW8, LW10, LW12 in accordance with International Paralympic Committee classification), 5 athletes of middle level, age 24+/-5 (LW2, LW12) and 3 preparatory level, 17 years old (LW8). It was demonstrated that knowledge of the properties of the nervous system of an athlete enables the prediction of his adaptability to training and competitive activities at high altitudes. The GDV “Bio-Well” device used in the study yields a sufficiently accurate estimation of the parameters of the psychophysiological state of athletes. The “Prognoz” method for assessing the properties of the nervous system enables prompt monitoring of the process of adaptation to the high athletes during the pre-competition and competition periods and timely implementation of the necessary corrective measures. Monitoring of athletes’ activity for a long time allowed creating the optimal training process and preparing athletes for completions in the peak of their adaptation, physical and psychological readiness. The best indication was successful performance of this team at Paralympic Winter Games Sochi-2014. Athletes on Russia Paralympic Team achieved commendable results in biathlon: Gold – 7, Silver – 5, Bronze – 3, as well as in skiing: Gold – 10, Silver – 3, Bronze – 6. These are remarkable results, which was achieved by combining efforts of coachers, psychologists and scientists.


Keywords: Paralympic sport, Electrophotonic Imaging, psychophysiological adaptation, nervous system, GDV Bio-Well.

  1. Introduction

A distinctive feature of the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi was that many of the sporting events took place at high altitude. The venue for holding the cross country skiing and biathlon competitions was located on the Psekhako Ridge in the Krasnaya Polyana village. The field was located at an altitude of 850-1430 meters (2790-4660 feet) above sea level. The choice of altitude for the venue was not random: according to the requirements of the FIS and IBU internationals federations, 1400 -1600 meters (4600-5250 feet) above sea level is the optimal altitude for biathlon and cross-country skiing competitions. These conditions called for serious analysis of the psychophysiological adaptation of athletes, in particular the Paralympians (skiers, biathletes, athletes with lesions of the musculoskeletal system), to high altitudes. This problem has already been studied by us during the training period [1]. The next step was to study the adaptation of Paralympians to high altitudes during the pre-competition and competition periods, as well as a search for specific psychophysiological qualities contributing to successful adaptation to high-altitude training and competition burdens.

The problem of express-evaluation of the psycho-physiological condition of athletes for timely correction of the training process is actual for all kinds of sport and for Paralympic sport in particular [1-4]. The most essential this problem for the top-level athletes preparing for competitions, where fixed equipment is, as a rule, is unavailable, and express evaluation using hand-held devices is desirable [5,6]. One more important moment is time constrains: athletes’ daily routine is toughly scheduled, and to find time for measurements is not easy, and even more so in the time of competitions. Athletes and coachers would never agree to frequent long-term analysis, so the process of measurements should be fast and, of course non-invasive. This dictates selection of the operational methods and setup.

The goal of this study was to test innovation Russian technology for express-evaluation of athletes’ level of preparation in the training and competition periods and develop most efficient parameters for the practical applications.

  1. Study Methods

The following methods and corresponding hand-held devices for athletes’ express-analysis were used in the study:

Evaluation of Psychophysiological Stability (PS) parameter by the innovative Russian system: Electrophotonic Imaging (EPI) based on Gas Discharge Visualization technique with “Bio-Well” device (Bio-Well Co, USA Calculation of Psychophysiological Stability (PS) index is based on image processing technique [7]; multiple experiments demonstrated that this parameter has high level of correlation with psycho-physiological condition of an athlete; it is calculated in percent from 0 to 100%; PS = 100% is correlated with high level of competition readiness and high energy reserve. Interpretation criteria are given in Table 1.

EPI Technique is based on a well-known Kirlian effect: when an object is placed on a glass plate and stimulated with current, a visible glow occurs, the gas discharge. With electrophotonics (EPI/GDV) cameras, the Kirlian effect is quantifiable and reproducible for scientific research purposes. Images captured of all ten fingers on each human subject provide detailed information on the person’s psycho-somatic and physiological state [8,9]. The EPI camera systems and their accompanying software are being used in medicine and psychology [10-17]. Through investigating the fluorescent fingertip images, which dynamically change with emotional and health states, one can identify areas of congestion or health in the whole system. The parameters of the image generated from photographing the fingers under electrical stimulation creates a neurovascular reaction of the skin, influenced by the nervous-humoral status of all organs and systems. In addition, for most healthy people EPI readings vary less than 10% over time, indicating a high level of precision in this technique [18]. It is interesting to note that in the process of several years of using EPI technology for studding paralympic teams of Russia no significant differences between paralympic athletes and healthy population was found. At the same time, analysis of data for handicapped people in Russia with the same type of problems indicated much worse state of their psycho-physiological condition. This tells us about strong positive effect of sport for the overall condition of people. EPI complex is accepted as one of the techniques for athletes’ state express-evaluation by Russian Ministry of Sport [19, 20].

Full text: 2014 Innovation Technology of Evaluation of Adaptation

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