- What is Paralympian Search?
Paralympian Search is a one-day athlete identification event designed to test participant aptitudes to excel in various Paralympic sports, and maybe one day represent Canada at the Paralympic Games.
The event also welcomes current or former athletes from all levels aiming to transfer into a new Paralympic sport or discover a new sport that can complement their main discipline.
Each participant goes through a set of basic physical tests conducted by national team coaches and other experts. During this event, you will also get to meet current Paralympic athletes and alumni from various sports who will be sharing their experience and answering your questions.
- Who can go to a Paralympian Search?
Participants of ages 14-35 who have a physical disability or visual impairment can come to a Paralympian Search. You may or may not have previous sport experience, but if you are interested in discovering which Paralympic sports you are eligible for and have the greatest potential, you can come find out more at a Paralympian Search.
- How long is Paralympian Search?
The length of day depends on each location, but generally the day will run from about 9:00 or 10:00am until about 2:00 or 3:00, so plan for about 5 hours on site. Specific details will be provided for each Search on this website.
- What happens during the day of the Paralympian Search?
Again it will depend a little on each location, but typically you will arrive in the morning and check in at the registration table, listen to a welcoming speech from local sport leaders and a Paralympian ambassador, then go through a warm up followed by about 5 or 6 physical tests.
- What are the tests like?
The tests are designed to indicate some basic physical and sport aptitudes. Some tests will measure your body type (height, weight, arm span) and others will test your fitness and physical skills power, speed and endurance. Recent tests have included:
- Sprint (running or wheeling)
- Medicine ball throw
- Vertical jump
- Stationary bike (seated or hand crank)
- Wheelchair agility
- Do I try or play sports at a Paralympian Search?
You will not try or play sports at the Paralympian Search. The goal of the tests is to find out about some of your general skills and aptitudes so that you can discover a range of sports that may be a good fit.
- If I use a wheelchair, can I complete all the tests?
If you use a manual wheelchair and propel yourself, you should be able to most of the tests. For example, you can wheel for the sprint test or use the hand cycle for the bike test. Some tests may not be a good fit, such as the vertical jump, but that’s ok, participate in as many as you can. If you use a power chair, there may need to be a bit more accommodation, so please contact us to discuss the possibilities.
- If I have a visual impairment, or am blind, can I do all the tests?
If you have a visual impairment or are blind, you should be able to do the tests. We will have volunteers on site to assist you to move through the stations and we will provide you a guide runner for the sprint if needed.
- What if get there and realize I am unable to do many, or any of the tests?
If you are uncertain about trying the tests, or if one of the local fitness experts recommends that you do not attempt a test, you will still have opportunities to learn about different sports and find out which ones might be a fit for you.
- Are the tests difficult - are there any risks?
As with any activity, there are risks, and the tests can be physically demanding. We will ask you to complete a health questionnaire called the PAR-Q form to help consider if you are adequate physical health to participate. A local fitness expert will be on site to answer any questions you may have. If there are any health concerns, you may be asked to only complete some tests, or none at all. Your safety is our top priority! Additionally, you will be asked to sign a waiver releasing the hosts of liability.
- Do I need to already be an athlete to come to Paralympian Search?
No, you can come to Paralympian Search if you are not already an athlete. If you are an athlete, we hope you will also find out about more sport options that may be of interest to you.
- Can I bring my parents, spouse or a friend?
Yes! You are welcome to bring someone from your support network. They will be welcome to join for the opening remarks, but please be advised that they will not be permitted in the testing area during the tests. In some cities, there may be a viewing area available but in some locations, they may need to wait in a separate space. When possible, the CPC will provide information sessions for friends and family while you are at the testing.
- Can I bring my service animal to a Paralympian Search?
Yes! Please advise us ahead of time in your registration form so we can best support you.
- What should I wear?
The tests are active and can be physically demanding, so wear appropriate sport clothing and shoes and be prepared to be active. There will be washrooms or changing rooms on site and it’s a good idea to bring a layer you can quickly slip on, such as a sweatshirt, to stay warm between or after tests.
- What should I bring?
If you have any equipment you use when you do physical activities such as bike, sprint or throw (such as gloves, a brace, tether, track chair etc) please bring them.
There will be some snacks and water but if you have preferences or allergies, please indicate any allergies in you registration and bring your own food.
- What if I am younger than 18 year old?
Paralympian Search welcomes participants ages 13 – 35 but if you are under 18, or otherwise unable to sign consent, you must have a parent or legal guardian with you.
- What happens after the Paralympian Search?
Everyone who attends will receive information on different Paralympic sports and local opportunities. If you show exceptionally high athletic potential, you may be selected to speak to a provincial or national sport representative about additional opportunities.
- Does the Paralympian Search have any other purposes?
Yes! The CPC is working with a research team that is studying how para athletes get involved in sport. We would appreciate if you would fill out a questionnaire about your sport experience. Your participation will really help us better understand how people with disabilities get involved, and hopefully we can use this knowledge to provide better opportunities for quality participation.
- What else should I know?
Sometimes there will be media present. Paralympian Search is a great event to promote Paralympic sport, so sometimes reporters or photographers will be there to circulate and ask questions. You are never required to speak to media or have your photo taken, and we will ask you to sign a media consent form which you are free to decline consent.
- What if I still have questions?
If you still have questions, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org