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Anjali Forber-Pratt
Paralympic sport as a vehicle for social change in Bermuda and Ghana

Background: Sport for persons with disabilities provides health, psychosocial well-being, and quality of life benefits 1-3. Research has documented the benefits of sport for athletes without disabilities in resource poor nations however, less is known about these benefits for athletes with disabilities in nations with an emerging disability sport culture. This qualitative study sought to answer: (1) What are the affects of sport programmes for persons with disabilities on psychosocial development, well-being and quality of life? (2) How has the implementation of sport programmes for persons with disabilities affected the perceptions of disability by the community in these nations? Method: Case study research design, with data collected from unstructured participant observations from researcher field notes, fieldwork, archival media files, and interviews, was used to capture experiences of individuals. One-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with athletes, coaches, programme coordinators and parents from Bermuda and Ghana (n=13). Analysis was performed using a modified van Kaam approach. Results: Interviewees reported that participation in Paralympic sport has benefits to one's own perception of self, benefits to others' perception of disability as well as instilling a sense of civic responsibility to continue educating others. Conclusions: Sport participation allows for athletes with disabilities to become contributing members of society and leaders. These individuals use sport as a vehicle to change perceptions and stereotypes about disability.

Journal of Sport for Development

Forber-Pratt, A.J. (Vanderbilt)

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