Debbie joins as the Virtus Academy Manager – a new initiative to develop a global hub of research, training, and education to be launched in 2021.
After seven years of full-time postdoctoral research at KU Leuven (Belgium), Debbie will divide her time across both organisations, leveraging on international and evidenced-based knowledge of elite athletes with intellectual disability and autism. She has published more than 25 peer-reviewed scientific articles in top journals in her field.
Debbie’s research specialised in the domains of ‘Adapted Physical Activity’ and ‘Disability Sport’, with the focus of her research on the role of cognition on sports performance among elite Paralympic athletes with intellectual disabilities.
During her PhD, she contributed to the development of evidence-based classification systems for elite athletes with intellectual disability (ID), that led to their re-inclusion in the Paralympic Games. Afterward, she was appointed as the coordinator of the “International Research and Development Centre for Classification of Athletes with Intellectual Impairments”, which was officially recognised by the International Paralympic Committee. In that position, she coordinated a collaborative network of national and international research groups and representatives of sports organisations, to perform cutting-edge research with an impact on society.
Debbie has broad expertise as a researcher, beyond evidence-based classification. She was involved in numerous projects related to coaching para-athletes, psychosocial aspects of disabilities, health-enhancing physical activity, and performance optimisation.
Debbie is based in Belgium.