Researcher biography

A/Prof Sean Tweedy leads the Para Sport and Adapted Physical Activity Research Group in the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of Queensland. Through his applied research program he aims to generate the knowledge required to empower people with disabilities to pursue self-directed goals through safe, effective engagement in sport and physical activity. Sean's research addresses three main areas of need:

  • People with disabilities are among the most inactive people in society and consequently have a disproportionately high incidence of preventable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes mellitus. Sean's research program aims to develop evaluate and translate evidence-based methods for increasing physically active behaviour among community dwelling adults with disabilities.
  • Para athletes have impairments which adversely affect sports performance, but the extent to which performance is affected varies greatly with some athletes having impairments that cause severe disadvantage in sport and others that cause relatively minor disadvantage. To ensure that competition is fair and that athletes who succeed are not simply those that have less severe impairments, Para athletes compete in classes, each comprising athletes who have impairments that cause a similar amount of disadvantage in sport. Methods for allocating class are not well established and Sean is Principal Investigator for the International Paralympic Committee's Classification Research and Development Centre (physical impairments) which aims to develop best practice and evidence-based methods for allocating athletes to classes;
  • In Australia, the right of people with disability to participate in sport and recreation is protected but only if the accommodations they require - equipment and/or expertise - are deemed to be "reasonable". Unfortunately people with severe disabilities and high support needs often require equipment and/or expertise which cannot reasonably be expected of community sport and recreation providers. Sean's research program aims to develop, evaluate and translate methods for safe, effective engagement in physically demanding, competitive sport for people with severe disabilities and high support needs. ParaSTART is his flagship program in this area -