Research Initiatives

This section provides information on local and international research projects and programs

Project title: Establishing heart rate variability profiles for exercise prescription and health monitoring among Special Olympics athletes

Investigators: Laura St.John (UVic MSc. student), Paige (UVic COOP student), Dr. Lynneth-Stuart Hill (UVic), Dr. Pauli Rintala (University of Jyväskylä, Finland), and Dr. Viviene Temple (UVic).

Overview: The change in the time intervals between adjacent heartbeats is known as Heart Rate Variability (HRV). The HRV of a well-conditioned heart is generally large at rest, whereas low HRV has been associated with adverse outcomes/conditions, including congestive heart failure, diabetic neuropathy, depression, and hospital admissions. As beat-to-beat variation is desirable, there has been considerable interest in improving HRV in the general population but very little research attention among individuals with intellectual disabilities.

School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education at the University of Victoria and Special Olympics British Columbia (SOBC) are collaborating on this project. UVic is building on the the Functional Fitness testing being conducted by SOBC by monitoring heart rate response to the Six-Minute Walk Test. The findings will help monitor the health of individuals with intellectual disabilities and help ensure safe prescription of exercise in this population. To date, 30 SOBC athletes have been tested, and more athletes will be tested in the Fall.


Project title: The impact of the Coaching Young Athletes course on program leaders’ knowledge, confidence, and self-efficacy.

Investigators: Dr. Viviene Temple (UVIc) and Stephanie Field (UVic PhD student).

Overview: Special Olympics Canada (SOC) was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada to develop, implement, and resource Active Start and FUNdamentals programs for 2-6 year old and 7-12 year old children, respectively. The aim of this project was to evaluate the impact of the training on program leaders’ knowledge and self-efficacy to implement these programs. To date, 125 program leaders from eight provinces have completed the pre- and post-training survey. Program leaders participating in the training course significantly improved their confidence to:

  • Talk about Active Start and FUNdamentals program concepts such as physical literacy
  • Take on planning and goal setting tasks
  • Plan a safe and engaging practice
  • Analyze the strengths and needs of children engaged in the programs, and
  • Involve parents and volunteers in the programs

Program leaders also significantly improved their perceived ability to explain the key learning points of the skills taught in the Active Start and FUNdamentals programs, and to modify activities for children not experiencing success. We are now following up with program leaders in BC with face-to-face interviews.


Project Title: Indoor Sledge Hockey – Sled Design

Investigators: Ross Lyle (Camosun), Rich Burman (Camosun), Dr. Andy Van Neutegem (Camosun)

Overview: This projects involves the (re-)engineering and construction of indoor sleds from the sport of sledge hockey. Currently, there are approximately 8 poorly maintained and constructed indoor sleds in British Columbia ‘rented’ out by Sportability BC throughout the province to promote the sport of sledge hockey. The Centre for Sport & Exercise Education (CSEE) provides significant curriculum investment in teaching and training students in the delivery of adapted physical activity and disability sport opportunities. In November 2016, as part of the SFL 330 Adapted Sport course, students used indoor sleds to receive training and instruction in the promotion and instructing of indoor and on-ice sledge hockey. Students used these indoor sleds from Sportability BC to deliver two pilot sessions in two local high schools. The indoor sledge hockey activities have led to a collaboration between PISE and OneAbility to initiate an on-ice sledge hockey program in Victoria that has Camosun students promoting and instructing new participants. This projects has the goal of developing 12 user-friendly and safe indoor sleds that provide an authentic experience matching the on-ice experience of sledge hockey. The over-arching vision is to use the proposed new indoor sleds in the SFL 330 curriculum and to expand the opportunities to include programs in both PISE and local community schools. Our students would continue to be trained and educated in sledge hockey and specifically the teaching and use of indoor sledge hockey sleds. Students would gain significant hands-on experience in the delivery of inclusive physical activity programming and develop an appreciation and understanding of the skills and attitudes in working with participants with different abilities. It is expected that Mechanical Engineering and BSFL students would work collaboratively (with the support of faculty) to design the indoor sleds.

The project is expected to take 6-8 months in design and construction of 12 new indoor sleds.

More information coming soon!

Andy Van Neutegem

Andy-Van-NeutegemAndy has a PhD in sport psychology, specifically, maladaptive behaviours resulting from career transition in sport.  He is a Faculty member of Camosun’s four-year Sport and Fitness Leadership Degree program.  He is also an adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia in the Master’s degree in High Performance Coaching & Technical Leadership.

Currently, Andy is on an academic leave of absence fulfilling the role of High Performance Director for Canada’s National Wheelchair Rugby Team – helping them prepare for the 2016 Rio Paralympics. He is also part-time as a High Performance Athlete Development Advisor for Own the Podium.


Viviene Temple

Viviene-TempleViviene Temple PhD is a Professor in the School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. Viviene’s research focuses on understanding the levels and determinants of obesity and physical activity participation among persons with intellectual disability. She is working with colleagues on secondary analyses of the Health Promotion database of Special Olympics International. Recently she began a national evaluation of the Active Start (2 – 6 years) and FUNdamentals (7 – 12 years) programs for Special Olympics Canada. Viviene is the Past President of the North American Federation of Adapted Physical Activity.


Gord Inglis

Gord-InglisGord Inglis received his Masters of Science in Physical Education from Washington State University and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Idaho.  Gord currently serves as the Chair of the Bachelor of Sport & Fitness Leadership Degree program at Camosun College which includes two specializations in Sport Management and Exercise & Wellness. His areas of instructional expertise include biomechanics, leadership & instruction, sport management, history of sport, measurement & evaluation, tennis and volleyball.

Formerly, Gord was the Chairperson of Kinesiology & Sport Studies at Red Deer College as well as a founding Board Member and President of the Alberta Sport Development Centre – Central, founding board member of The Leadership Centre – Red Deer and Vice-President for Tennis Alberta for many years.

Also, Gord is a former head coach of the Red Deer College Kings Volleyball program and currently serves as assistant coach for the Camosun Chargers men’s volleyball team who were the 2015 Canadian College National Champions.  His personal interests include tennis, travel, and history.


Marc Klimstra 

Marc Klimstra PhD is an Associate Professor in the School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education at the University of Victoria and a Performance Analysis consultant for the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific. Marc studies the Biomechanics of human movement in sport and clinical populations with special interest in wearable technologies.  He is currently working on applied biomechanics projects with the National Wheelchair Rugby program and Cycling Canada.