Medland, Joan and Ellis-Hill, Caroline
Why do able-bodied people take part in wheelchair sports?
Disability & Society, 23, (2), . (doi:10.1080/09687590701841133).
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Recently able-bodied people have taken up wheelchair sports. This paper aims to explore why people are taking up a sport which may be considered to 'belong' to disabled people and explore the impact of reverse integration. A questionnaire covering demographic details, experiences of wheelchair sport and perceptions of both able-bodied and disabled wheelchair athletes was distributed by e-mail via elite wheelchair athletic associations in the UK, Canada, The Netherlands and the USA. Twenty participants were recruited (11 disabled athletes, four female, and nine able-bodied athletes, three female). Able-bodied people initially became involved in wheelchair sports in order to share an activity with their disabled friends or family. Continuing participation was reinforced by friendship, challenge, achievement, the opportunity for good competition, development of the sport and to change society's perceptions of disability. Perceptions varied according to the policies relating to inclusion adopted by the sports governing body within the participants' countries.
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