Pathways in Paralympic Sport: An In-Depth Analysis of Athletes’ Developmental Trajectories and Training Histories

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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  • 1 School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • | 2 Paralympic Innovation, Paralympics Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia
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This three-part investigation conducted a comprehensive analysis of 213 Australian and Canadian athletes’ developmental trajectories, training histories, and experiences in organized sports from 18 Paralympic sports (PS). While athletes with early-onset impairments (i.e., congenital, preadolescent) reached milestones and commenced various types of training at a significantly younger age than athletes with later-onset impairments (i.e., early adulthood, adulthood), the latter groups progressed through their careers and incorporated various trainings at a faster pace (i.e., fewer years). Preferences to certain training conditions varied between groups. Eighty-two percent of the athletes with acquired impairments had experience in able-bodied sports before the onset of their impairment, with 70% noting involvement in sports similar to their current PS. The participation rates (38%) and sport similarity (53%) were lower in PS. The amalgamation of findings from this series of studies highlights the complexity associated with PS athletes’ development and demonstrates the importance of taking an individualized approach.

Dehghansai (nimadehghan@gmail.com) is corresponding author, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0366-8239

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