Computers To Assess Eligibility For 2012 Paralympic Games
After a decade-long absence, athletes with intellectual disabilities will compete in the 2012 Paralympic Games. But determining who qualifies as having an intellectual disability will likely be left up to a computer.
In November the International Paralympic Committee voted to reinstate athletes with intellectual disabilities to the games. The group was banned following the 2000 games in Sydney after it was discovered that members of the Spanish basketball team lied about having intellectual disabilities. Before readmitting the group, committee officials said they needed a system to determine who does and does not have an intellectual disability.
Now a team of British researchers says they are developing a computerized touch screen test to establish eligibility for the 2012 games in London.
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“The program tests reaction times, reasoning abilities, memory and concentration and is designed to measure problems with information processing that are prevalent amongst individuals with a learning disability,” says lead researcher Dr. Stephan Bandelow of Loughborough University. “We also aim to develop sport specific testing for sports including athletics, swimming and table tennis based on the cognitive demands associated with each discipline.”
The computer test will likely be used alongside medical records, IQ tests and observation of athletes during competition to determine eligibility.