Pushing for gold

Exercise and sports for wheelchair users
After two outstanding Paralympic Games, London 2012 and Rio 2016, the standard of adaptive sports is improving faster than ever before. This course is for those aspiring to join the next generation of professionals in this rewarding field.
Course levelAdvanced Bachelor/Master
Recommended course combinationBlock 1: Neurodegenerative Diseases: From Clinic to Bench, Global Health
Block 3: Nature & Nurture: Twin Research and Human Genetics, The Gentle Art of Helping
Block 2
22 July to 5 August
Co-ordinating lecturerProf. dr. Thomas W. J. Janssen
Other lecturersDr Sonja de Groot, Dr Marije Baart de la Faille-Deutekom, Dr Jasmijn Holla, Linda van Vliet MSc.
Form(s) of tuitionLectures, workshops, excursions
Form(s) of assessmentSmall-group presentations
ECTS        3 credits
Contact hours50
Tuition fee€1150
Students of Physical Therapy, Human Movement Sciences, Physical Education, Sports Management, Sports and Physical Exercise and Mensendieck Kinetics Therapy with an interest in adapted sports. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students with a wide variety of backgrounds.
A basic knowledge of exercise physiology and anatomy is recommended.
After two outstanding Paralympic Games, London 2012 and Rio 2016, the standard of adaptive sports is improving faster than ever before. These days, young people with physical disabilities have their own heroes to look up to as they dream of the 2028 games. But even though sports and exercise provision for wheelchair users has never been better, there is still a long way to go. This course is for those aspiring to join the next generation of professionals in this rewarding field.

For wheelchair users as much as anyone else, exercise and sport are important components of an active, healthy lifestyle. Building upon a strong theoretical examination of the subject’s physiological, biomechanical and psychosocial aspects, this interactive course explores the practical issues they face at all levels. From exercise during rehabilitation and sport for health and fitness all the way to elite, Paralympic-standard performance. It also includes actual exercise testing of wheelchair athletes and interactive seminars with wheelchair users.

As well as experts from VU Amsterdam and other academic institutions, your tutors include top practitioners from the Centre for Adapted Sports Amsterdam at leading rehabilitation centre Reade.
  • You can interact with wheelchair users and with professionals and researchers in the field of rehabilitation and adaptive sports.
  • You can discuss the physiological and psychosocial consequences of a serious physical disability (e.g. spinal cord injury, ampu­tation), and their impact upon exercise and sporting performance.
  • You can discuss barriers, motivators and facilitators of physical activity and sports participation in wheelchair users with spinal cord injury or a lower-limb amputation.
  • You can promote and discuss the importance of sports and exercise as part of an active healthy lifestyle for wheelchair users.
  • You can conduct and interpret an exercise test specific to wheelchair users.
Visits to the Centre for Adapted Sports Amsterdam, to attend a wheelchair rugby and basketball clinic and observe and participate in exercise testing of Paralympic athletes, and to the Friendship Sports Centre in Amsterdam, a sports facility for children with physical and intellectual disabilities.
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