What challenge does your project address?
Elite Paralympic athletes play a superhero role for kids with disabilities. Persons with disabilities have faced isolation and exclusion from physical activity and sports even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Quarantine restrictions have intensified the use of digital technology to mediate effective communication among family members and friends while the digital divide has been higher for persons with disabilities. Many online tools have been developed before and during COVID-19 to motivate people to be physically active in restricted environments or offer solutions to solve health and social problems. In most cases, these digital solutions are not evidence-based nor inclusive, or adapted to everyone’s needs, abilities, and wishes.
What is the goal of your idea and the expected impact?
The purpose of our project is to implement and develop an application aiming at motivating kids, teenagers, and adults with a disability to practice physical activities and sport. To do so, we elaborated on an application with paralympic athletes and coaches. The application could be used by elite Paralympic athletes, meeting their needs in terms of training and performance, especially during and after COVID-19. Paralympic athletes will be able to train through our application, guided by coaches. The elite Paralympic athletes could become coaches/mentors/advocates using the application with children with disabilities. Thanks to a gaming strategy included, their involvement would increase their visibility towards the society and sponsors.
Who will benefit most from this idea?
This application has been designed as an innovative transfer tool allowing connection between trainers and trainees. It consists of two separate interfaces for them. Both will create a profile and express their teaching/coaching interests from a set of various options. Coaches will be connected to trainees who expressed interests in their area of expertise. Trainees’s profiles will be based on their disabilities, level of physical activity, BMI, personal interests, etc. The coaches plan the physical activity / sport programs according to the trainee’s profiles. The sessions will be held in a synchronous/asynchronous individual or collective video format, in which trainees and coaches can collaborate with each other. This App is designed to assess the impact of the training programs.
How/where/by whom might this idea be implemented?
We are a team of paralympic athletes, coaches, researchers, developers, and scientists from around the world. We hope to bring in our diverse backgrounds and talents
What resources would be needed to evaluate and implement this idea?
Support from IFAPA, UNESCO, IPC, ICSSPE might be necessary to bring this idea to reality. A prototype of this application has already been built with Android Studio, using Java in the backend and XML in the front-end. We plan to implement this app so that it can be used anywhere with a flexible user interface that will be offered in multiple languages based on their geographical location. To launch our app, we will need a human centered design expert, a secure database that stores user information, as well as a video streaming server to hold synchronous/asynchronous video classes. We plan to offer our app on all versions of Android and will expand to iOS in the future.