Profiling and Competition Grouping
The Profile System was devised by Dr Christine Meaden M.C.S.P., Ph.D as a result of trying to make the Disability Sport Events classifications sport-specific (then known as the British Sports Association for the Disabled). DSE’s Medical and Technical Committee had declared this a priority in 1985. The definitions of the classes were made specific to swimming. An attempt was then made to do the same exercise specific to track events and to field events (different criteria for running as opposed to throwing).
This was repetitious because it was necessary to continually repeat the same description of each type of impairment. If each impairment type was allocated a number or name, the description of the impairment types in a particular competition group would be more concise.
Thus, if each type of impairment is given a number, it would be unnecessary to keep repeating the description of the impairment when creating groups for each sport. It was decided to call each impairment type 'a profile of functional ability'. This concept was described and presented verbally to the Medical and Technical Committee in March 1985.
The first written draft (March 1985) used definitions for each profile. It was updated to contain rough illustrations in October 1985. It seemed much easier and more consistent to use than the previous system, so it was used theoretically when classifying DSE competitors. No further development took place until a presentation was made in October 1987.
At grass roots, or sports club level, this specialisation is impractical and unnecessary when using the Profile System: if the impairment is measured and a profile allocated, the competitor can be categorised for any sport s/he uses chooses. Thus the assessment of a profile type followed by grouping of profiles in a standard way avoids the need for specialist sports knowledge for all assessors.
The categories use stick men for ease of use and since its development, it has been recognised worldwide, as well as in various sports. In 2008, Dr Meaden received the Nationwide Lifetime Achievement Award for her commitment to disabled people in sport- namely devising a system which would be instrumental in grassroots development. She also aided the charity to create a training course for teachers and Physios to learn how to use the system at a local level.
The profile system has been adopted for many Disability Sport Events participation opportunities, and was used for the Paralympic Equestrian in Sydney and Athens. It has also formed the basis for ParaTriathlon and is being used by England and Wales Cricket Board to in their development of a physical impairment league.
Disability Sport Events, with the input of Elizabeth Neale has created a toolkit so many more teachers and coaches can use the system to increase participation at a grassroots level.
If you would like to learn more about the established system, contact our events team