The classification was created by the International Paralympic Committee and has roots in a 2003 attempt to address "the overall objective to support and co-ordinate the ongoing development of accurate, reliable, consistent and credible sport focused classification systems and their implementation."
This classification is for disability athletics. This classification is one of several classifications for athletes with spinal cord injuries. Similar classifications are T51, T52, T53 and T54 Jane Buckley, writing for the Sporting Wheelies, describes the athletes in this classification as: " Wheelchair athlete who has mild weakness in shoulders, limited ability in straightening elbows and wrist function. No finger, trunk or leg function. " The Australian Paralympic Committee defines this classification as being for "Minimal or no movement of legs and trunk, poor or absent sitting balance, significant weakness of hands, wrist elbow (extension) and also shoulder. E.g. Damage to the spinal cord high to mid areas in the cervical spine. Significantly modified wheelchair propulsion style. "  The International Paralympic Committee defined this as: "These athletes will usually have elbow flexion and wrist dorsiflexion muscle power to grade 5, a decrease of shoulder muscle power especially pectoralis major, and triceps muscle power from grade 0-3. Use elbow flexors and wrist dorsiflexors for propulsion. Sit in an upright position with knees under the chin. Have large push rims. Equivalent activity limitation to person with complete cord injury at cord level C5-6." 
Athletes who wish to compete in para-athletics must first have a classification evaluation. During this, they both undergo a medical assessment and are asked to demonstrate skills in athletics, such as pushing a racing wheelchair and throwing. A determination is then made as to what an classification an athlete should compete in. Classifications may be Confirmed or Review status. For athletes who do not have access to a full classification panel, Provisional classification is available; this is a temporary Review classification, considered an indication of class only, and generally used only in lower levels of competition.
- "Paralympic Classification Today". International Paralympic Committee. 22 April 2010. p. 3.
- Buckley, Jane (2011). "Understanding Classification: A Guide to the Classification Systems used in Paralympic Sports". Retrieved 12 November 2011.
- "Summer Sports » Athletics". Australia: Australian Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
- "Classification Information Sheet" (PDF). Sydney, Australia. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
- Tweedy, Sean (16 July 2010). "Research Report - IPC Athletics Classification Project for Physical Impairments" (PDF). Queensland, Australiaa: International Paralympic Committee. p. 36. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
- "CLASSIFICATION Information for Athletes" (PDF). Sydney Australia: Australian Paralympic Committee. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
- "IPC Athletics World Records". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 19 November 2011.