General News

Wheelchair Rugby Canada: Women in Sport – featuring CSIO Physiologist Melissa Lacroix

Role: Physiologist at Canadian Sport Institute Ontario

What is an IST?

IST is the Integrated Support Team. It’s the team of sport science and sport medicine experts supporting the athletes and coaches in all areas of health, wellness, and performance. The Wheelchair Rugby National team IST works as a collaborative transdisciplinary team and is always evolving, the core IST consists of Athletic Therapists, Sport Medicine Physician, Physiologist, Strength and Conditioning Coaches, Mental Performance Consultant, Nutritionist, Performance Analyst & Biomechanist, Data scientists and Equipment Managers.

What is the importance of Sport Science?

Sport science is an important aspect of competing in high performance sport, the main role of a sport scientist is to help optimize the athlete’s mental and physical performance through the application of evidence informed practices to support the coaches and athletes in their decision-making processes of managing their health, wellness, and performance.

What have you learned working from the National Team?

I’ve learned a lot from being a part of this program from the athletes, coaches, and staff over the years. My biggest learnings as a sport scientist and leader have been

  1. Having a people first mindset. Relationships are the basis of everything we do, so building strong relationships with the athletes, coaches and staff is what matters the most and will have the biggest impact
  2. Be a good problem solver and innovator. It’s important to consistently be learning, growing, maintaining an open mindset and most of all being creative with how we tackle problems as sport scientist and leaders. These are even more important qualities in para sport given the limited research and knowledge available in high performance Paralympic sport.
  3. The Importance of Collaboration– We can do so much more together than we can on our own. The athletes have taught me the importance of including them and the coaches in all processes, and I have learned the value in working collaboratively with our staff and other practitioners in the network nationally and internationally
  4. Paralympic sport is still in its infancy– We still have a lot to learn, and a lot of boundaries to push in the areas of sport science and sport medicine, research & innovation and most importantly equity for Paralympic sport.


Article and photo courtesy of Wheelchair Rugby Canada.