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Initiatives have been designed to attract novice athletes and to enable transfer for experienced athletes. However, the authors have very little knowledge of the effectiveness of these programs. To further improve our understanding, this study explored the demographic and sporting careers of 225 participants attending one of the 10 Paralympian Search events held between 2016 and 2018. The sample consisted of participants with a wide range of impairments and sport experiential backgrounds. The majority of the participants reported having some experience in sports, suggesting that either the promotions reached athletes involved in sports already or the advertising appealed especially to this cohort. Athletes with impairments acquired at various stages of their lives (congenital, before adolescence, adolescence, early adulthood, and adulthood) displayed differences in their sporting trajectories, suggesting considerations for current developmental models. Furthermore, it should be considered to vary the testing locations of future events to increase the reach to rural areas and implement new methods to attract novice participants.
The authors are with the School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada.