Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports vol:16 issue:6 pages:417-25
The aim of this study was to investigate the physical fitness profile of high-performance athletes with intellectual disability (ID) in comparison with able-bodied individuals. METHODS: Participants were 231 male and 82 female athletes. All evaluations were done using the EUROFIT physical fitness test. RESULTS: In comparison with population data, both male and female athletes with ID score better for flexibility and upper body muscle endurance, but have similar or lower values for running speed, speed of limb movement, and strength measures. Compared with age-matched physical education students, male athletes with ID score better for running speed and flexibility, and worse for strength. Female athletes with ID score not different from able-bodied individuals for flexibility, running speed, and upper body muscle endurance, but worse for strength measures. Athletes with ID also have poorer cardio respiratory endurance capacity compared with sportive peers without ID. Furthermore, male athletes have a more differentiated profile depending upon their sports discipline, compared with female athletes. CONCLUSION: It can be concluded that high-performance athletes with ID reach physical fitness levels that are equal to or lower than those of able-bodied sportive counterparts. Further research should investigate the importance of reduced muscle strength to be the limiting factor.