What is Research Hub ?

The Research hub is the basis of Virtus Academy. Everyone interested in the research and science behind Para-sport for athletes with intellectual impairment is welcome to join us here. You can find the latest high quality, up-to-date, sport-specific and disability-specific research

Want to become involved or collaborate on Research?

Research Categories

This section contains general information about intellectual disability, definitions and key terminology. You can find the latest updates, facts and figures regarding the prevalence of ID across the globe.

Intellectual Disability

This section contains general information about autism, definitions and key terminology. You can find the latest updates, facts and figures regarding autism-research. Specific features related to the diagnosis of autism and how it impacts in sport are addressed, as well as the positive benefits of exercise and sport participation on the overall functioning of people with autism.


This section contains the latest information about individuals with Down Syndrome, and the specific characteristics related to this genetic impairment. It provides an overview of the current evidence regarding sport and physical activity for people with Down Syndrome.

Down Syndrome

Evidence-based research is required for the development of solid classification and eligibility systems, to provide fair and equal competition opportunities for all athletes. This section contains an overview and regular updates on the science behind the current systems, and ongoing scientific studies to optimize the systems in the future.

Eligibility & Classification

In this section, an overview of sport-specific scientific studies involving athletes with ID is provided. It contains studies in individual sports (athletics, swimming), racket sports (tennis, table tennis), team sports (basketball, soccer) and combat sports (taekwondo).


Coaches and scientists can find information here on how to optimize performance of athletes with ID in an evidence-based way to prepare them for competition. Coaching, learning and motivation are important factors to take into consideration.

Competition and performance

A healthy body is crucial for every athlete, including those with ID, to be able to participate and perform in sports. This section contains information on how to support athletes with ID to live a healthy lifestyle (health, nutrition), and to train to improve physical fitness (strength, aerobic capacity, balance, flexibility, …).

A healthy body

Athletes need to train their minds just as they train their bodies. Mental health is at least as important as physical health. This section contains research on the psychosocial aspects of intellectual disability, prevalence of mental health issues in this population, how to support individuals with ID to improve their mental well-being. Cognitive and executive functions in sport is also addressed.

A strong mind

Participation rates of individuals with ID in sport are generally lower than in the general population. In this section, we highlight barriers and facilitators towards physical activity, and studies on inclusion and inclusive practices in sport.

Inclusion & Participation