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We examined barriers to and facilitators of sports participation in people with visual impairments. Participants registered at Royal Visio, Bartiméus, and the Eye Association were invited to complete a questionnaire (telephone or online). Six hundred forty-eight of the invited participants (13%) completed the questionnaire, and 63% of the respondents reported sports participation. Walking (43%), fitness (34%), and cycling (34%) were frequently mentioned sports. Costs, lack of peers/buddies, and visual impairment were negatively associated with sports participation, whereas higher education and computer (software) use were positively associated. The most important personal barrier was visual impairment; transport was the most important environmental barrier. Active participants also mentioned dependence on others as a personal barrier. The most important personal facilitators were health, fun, and social contacts; support from family was the most important environmental facilitator. To improve sports participation in people with visual impairments, the emphasis in a sports program should be on the positive aspects of sports, such as fun, health, and social contacts.
Eva. A. Jaarsma, Rienk Dekker, Pieter U. Dijkstra and Jan H.B. Geertzen are with the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Center for Rehabilitation, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands. Rienk Dekker is with the Center of Sports Medicine, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands. Steven A. Koopmans is with the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands. Pieter U. Dijkstra is with the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands.