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Becoming a National Classifier 
What is Classification?
Classification is a structure for competition. Paralympic athletes have an impairment in body structures and functions that leads to a competitive disadvantage in sport. Consequently, criteria are put in place to ensure that winning is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus, the same factors that account for success in sport for athletes who are able-bodied.

Classification is the process by which athletes are assessed by reference to the impact of impairment on their ability to compete in a specific sport.

Classifiers are the officials who are educated, trained and certified to conduct the classification evaluation process for the respective Paralympic sports.

A classification panel is made up of a number of classifiers (as defined by each sport's classification rules).  Classifiers may be medical or technical and the respective sport rules will define which types of classifiers comprise a panel.
 
Medical classifiers need to have the prerequisites, listed below, for the sport in which they choose to be trained as a medical classifier.  Technical classifiers must have extensive coaching background, be former athletes and/or have a degree in physical education, biomechanics or kinesiology with a suitable level of knowledge of the impairments and activity limitations associated with the sport in which they pursue classifier training. 

Pathway to become a classifier 

1. Complete the Interested Classifier information form and return to Erin Popovich at the USOC (erin.popovich@usoc.org).
 
2. Sign up for and attend a National Classifier course.

U.S. Paralympics, in conjunction with National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and High Performance Management Organizations (HPMOs) offers several classifier education courses each year.  Each National Federation (NF) – i.e. the NGB/HPMO mirrors their classification system with the International Federation (IF) system for the respective sport.  As Paralympic sports continue to grow, the demand for classification also continues to grow.  Classifier training/education courses are held in conjunction with a sporting event so that the classifier trainee can gain experience in all portions of the process including observation during competition.  Courses are typically 2-4 days.  Components of a course will include general classification theory, sport-specific classification rules and regulations and evaluative processes, practical experience in conducting classification evaluation, and observation during competition. Classifier trainees must be available for the entire period of the training course.

Following each course the classifier trainees will receive feedback and information from the classification educators/classifiers that facilitated the training.  Trainees may be certified as a national classifier after one course if their knowledge, skill level, proficiency warrants such.  Oftentimes, the trainee may be encouraged to attend a second course or work to gain more practical experience with certified classifiers before gaining their national certification.

*Optometrists and Ophthalmologists must attend a classifier course offered by the IPC.  

A classifier is a sport official and a volunteer position.  Once certified as a national classifier, the local organizing committee hosting classification evaluation is responsible to pay travel and accommodation costs for the classifiers working at the event.  Trainee classifiers are responsible for covering their own expenses to attend a course. 

To be added to the database of interested classifiers, please fill out and return the information form to Erin Popovich.  When training opportunities become available, information will be sent out to those in the database.  Please feel free to contact Erin Popovich at Erin.Popovich@usoc.org with any questions.

Interested Classifier Information Form

Prerequisites Doctor (MD) Doctor (DO) Physiatrist Physiotherapist Occupational Therapist Opthalmologist / Optometrist Technical
Summer Sports              
Archery X     X     X
Basketball X     X     X
Boccia X X X X     X
Canoe / Kayak X X   X     X
Cycling X   X X   X X
Equestrian X     X   X  
Fencing X X   X     X
Goalball           X  
Judo           X  
Paratriathlon X     X X X X
Powerlifting X            
Rowing X X   X   X X
Rugby X     X X   X
Sailing X     X   X X
Shooting              
Soccer X X X X     X
Swimming X     X   X X
Table Tennis X     X X   X
Tennis     X X X    
Track and Field X   X X   X X
Volleyball X X X X      
Winter Sports              
Alpine Skiing X     X   X  
Curling X     X      
Nordic Skiing X     X   X X
Sled Hockey X X   X      
Snowboard X     X