Structure and Organization of Sport for People With Intellectual Disabilities Across Europe

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Adriana Marin-Urquiza Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
University Hospital 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain

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Jan Burns Center for Sport, Physical Activity Research (Spear), Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, United Kingdom

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Natalia Morgulec-Adamowicz Faculty of Rehabilitation, Józef Piłsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland

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Debbie Van Biesen Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Virtus Academy, Virtus World Intellectual Impairment Sport, Sheffield, United Kingdom

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Opportunities to participate and compete in sports for athletes with intellectual disability (ID) have increased; however, this group still encounters limitations in accessing a comprehensive range of sports. This study addressed the current knowledge on how sport for people with ID is organized and the relationships between the major sport organizations for people with ID across 10 European countries. The participants were 29 national sport organizations for people with ID. Data were collected using semistructured interviews with representatives from the key organizations and analyzed thematically. From the results, two major themes emerged: (a) connection and networking between sport organizations and (b) organizational landscape of each nation (i.e., ID, multidisability, or mainstream). The results of this study contribute to understanding how sport for people with ID is organized across the participating nations, demonstrating different models of development and examples of good practice.

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