Sunday, 9 September 2012

LEXI – the traffic light system ...

Paralympic classification is a fine art – which can and does go wrong – but the athletes’ acceptance that this happens – has been an amazing example of humbled excellence .... no tantrums, what a pleasure.

c/o Channel 4 Broadcaster of the Paralympics

This happened last night to Nathan Stephens, the British Javelin thrower, he knew he hadn’t violated the rules ... but was disqualified – subsequently the officials have admitted they got it wrong and apologised, his throws have been reinstated – but London has gone ... as he said today – c’est la vie ...

... but it’s another day and he will just get on with training and be ready for Rio.  He was just brilliant in his interview ... yes very angry last night ...  he is the World Record Holder ... but again after this debacle – there will be a tightening up of the standards.

Giles on parade
Giles Long, a paralympian swimmer – motivational speaker, author, turned sports presenter, developed LEXI as an easy way for us armchair watchers to get to grips with paralympic classification, without going into too much detail.

The traffic light system is simple to understand and could be adapted for the team sports, where athletes with different abilities are combined into a team for which there will be a maximum guide.

For example S is the category for Swimming, the numbers tell us the grade of disability: 1 for the most disabled, to 10 for the least disabled within the classification parameters.  Giles Long was an S8 swimmer.

c/o Channel 4

Oscar Pretorius, whose name I’m sure you recognise, is a T43 ... athletics track event, while the 43 refers to the double lower leg amputation disability category.

Within the disability games movement quite often two levels of disability are combined in races – as in the athletics races ... T44 and T43 .. where the double amputees raced against the single leg amputees (because there are insufficient competitors in each category).  These joint races are unlikely to occur in Brazil.

In the field events a factoring system is introduced to level out athletes disabilities ... i.e. in the long jump – but don’t ask me to explain factoring!

Wheelchair Rugby

Wheelchair rugby is a mixed event, though most competitors are male, an allowance is made in the team point value when a female gets on court ...

... each player is allocated a point value based on their functional ability; there are 7 classes from 0.5 for a player with the least physical function, increasing by 0.5 per class, through to 3.5 for the most physical function.

To minimise the impact of types of impairment on the outcome of the competition, the total on-court point value cannot exceed 8.  For each female player a team fields on court, the maximum points level increases by 0.5.

The set up is similar for team events on the track, swimming and other sports ... there’s a maximum point allowance for all the members of the team.
S6 classification - Lexi showing the range of possibilities
c/o Hudson Fuggle - Studio Life

LEXI for the team sports has been quite a useful guide – I’ve finally sort of got to grips with the classifications ... and along with the descriptions I’ve heard, it just makes disability more understandable and more eye-opening.

These Paralympians, their supporters, families, trainers, volunteers who work with them, the classifiers (many are professionals, but volunteers) ... have humbled us in their achievements ... what can be done by just being given a chance ... the crowds too have shown such support and recognition for these athletes.

... AND, the big AND, – their behaviour, their sheer delight at being recognised at long last, the thanks they give everyone ... there are no prima donnas amongst these athletes ... it has been give, give, give - not take ...

Nathan Stephens - he's only 24
Brilliant examples of humanity at its very best ... I’ve loved all that I’ve seen and been inspired by them all ... let’s hope this attitude to life brushes off on the rest of us ... there’s so much more to life – it’s for living, not moaning, or bemoaning our fate ... we can work together to help others less fortunate.

Disability happens ... be it the onset of meningitis, birth defect – e.g. cerebral palsy, serious accident, accident while competing as an able bodied athlete, learning disabilities, blindness – there are doors that can be opened ... never say no, never say it cannot be done ... we can dream, we can follow that dream – they have ... so can we.

I know this is a little late for the Games – but I wanted to at least remember the classification aspects for myself, as I’m sure we’ll be more aware of these special athletes in the future.

Giles Long – his website

Classification Guide to the Paralympics – via Wiki Answers

Paralympic Organisation Classification Guide – see here

Paralympics Channel 4 (the official British broadcaster – not the BBC) – Channel4 classificationGuide

c/o HydroMontage – re traffic light system: Level of Impairment

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Rosalind Adam said...

Well done! I've struggled to work out what the classifications were all about. It's certainly been an inspiring experience. What will we all watch now it's over?

Grace said...

Thank you Hilary,
I just read your post and was momentarily unaware of troubles that have been percolating here..

Pardon me for blathering for a bit...but I guess I just need to talk this out.

Anyway, last night, my 11week old granddaughter was rushed to the emergency room around midnight. High temp/ diarrhea/ hours and hours in the ER/ They took blood samples and urine samples, and got samples of everything they could think of from her to run tests on...the hours went by...but no explanation was found/ eventually she was released and sent home...still undiagnosed.

And still running temp with diarrhea.

My husband and I are now babysitting her older brother, the 14 month old. We have picked him up and brought him to our house.

It all happened in a big rush this morning.
And after we got him, we drove to IHOP and poked breakfast down his little throat. ( banana slices and scrambled eggs...moderately healthy fare for a toddler)

We rushed home to change clothes and off to church the baby and I went.

Hubby wasnt feeling up to attending this morning and stayed home. Rare for him..which ALSO has me concerned.

Anyway, at church, Little Man made it through the song service in great shape, but by the time communion was offered he was wanting to sing out loud off we scurried to the "cry room" for noisy babies.

We stayed there until communion was over and then packed up and came back home because Little Man clearly needed a nap.

We never made it to the sermon.

He is now asleep.
Hubby is asleep.
I want a nap too, but am on vigil for a phone call about the infant...ready to answer the phone ( should it ring) before it wakes everybody else up.

So herei sit, in a house with the lights turned down way low to aid sleepy people....and I am reading your blog on my iPAD. ( I am in want of a cup of tea and shall attend to that delicacy as soon as this comment is posted.)

So here is the end of my blathering and i find that i have finally come to the point of my comment to you: Hilary, THANK YOU for the uplifting information on your blog.
It was distracting a perfectly wonderful Way.
You got my mind focused on things beyond the immediate percolating drama at hand.

Its nice to see your posts again.

Blessings to you Hilary...thanks again for this post.

In Him,

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Carol - so true follow our dreams - keep on going ... amazing to think this post might be of use in four years time!!

@ Ros - I just had to try and get something down .. glad it's helped, better late than never!

Back to the negativity I suspect .. and I hope some good documentaries, and good series .. Up to us now to remember what can be achieved ..

@ Grace - I'm pleased your granddaughter is out of hospital - let's hope she continues on the mend. But am so pleased my blog posts keep you distracted, and gives you something else to think about ... I like to be uplifting - so am glad to know it's working ..

Great to see you Carol, Ros and Grace - cheers Hilary

A Lady's Life said...

Wow the rugby looks very rough on wheelchairs.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thanks for this, Hilary. I don't think I fully appreciated the paralympic before. What drives them to succeed is exactly the same for all of us. as it should be. Thanks for explaining the categories and the point values.

Inger said...

I found this very informative and interesting. I finally saw something about these games in a US magazine. I forget which one now. So if not for you, I wouldn't have had this great experience. Thank you so much for all the time you take with your posts.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Hilary! A most informative post. Thank you for taking the time to explain the different categories and the point values. The pictures were also helpful in understanding what you were talking about.

dolorah said...

I didn't know all this. Thanks for sharing.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ A Lady's Life - this is the original 'murderball' - called quad rugby in the States - there's a league for wheelchair rugby in north America.

It is very rough on wheelchairs and they come armed with spanners, welders, replacement tools and equipment!!!

@ Joylene - glad you appreciated this description ... it's hard to get one's head round - but Giles Long's LEXI system is brilliantly simple .. in basic terms.

@ Inger - so pleased this adds to your appreciation of the Paralympics ... even if you haven't seen much in the States.

@ Susanne - the LEXI colour code system certainly simplifies our understanding of the different basic categories ..

@ Donna - I'm just grateful Giles Long worked this out for us .. really useful.

So pleased this helped you all - I hope the adopt it for future Games .. cheers Hilary

Liara Covert said...

Inspirational stories are always uplifting. Thansk for sharing. Imagine now, what happens from the moment mind no longer registers
"difference", "other" , "inequalityin any way. Imagine what it feels like. Everything you perceive is an invitation to love everything and everyone unconditionally. When you distinguish self and others, see something wrong with the world around you, you are not allowing yourself to experience the love, peace and acceptance of core being. Everything points here.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara ... yes, so true - your words need to be conveyed to everyone ... if we could no longer register those negative thoughts - the world would be a place of great life.

Great comment Liara ... brilliantly expressed - thanks so much .. Hilary

Juliet said...

So interesting Hilary; I knew nothing of the classification system, and how the paralympics work.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet - I didn't either and I'd sort of grasped it - when the Paralympics were all over!! Still I have some idea for any future disability Games that arise ..

Cheers Hilary