Examining the Concept of Reverse Integration: A Response to Brasile’s “New Perspective” on Integration

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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  • 1 National Wheelchair Basketball Association
  • 2 The Pennsylvania State University
  • 3 University of Kentucky
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Brasile (1990) has proposed a “new perspective” on efforts in the United States to integrate persons without disabilities in activities currently limited exclusively to those with disabilities (i.e., wheelchair sports). It is contended herein that Brasile’s rationale for “reverse integration” is based upon faulty logic; moreover, it violates fundamental concepts that form the foundation of the wheelchair sports movement in the U.S. Not only would it reduce competitive opportunities for persons with disabilities, but reverse integration reflects an outdated perspective that wheelchair sports is primarily a form of rehabilitation rather than sports competition. Finally, the fundamental issue in this debate is identified: who will ultimately decide who is or is not eligible for participation in wheelchair sports in the U.S.? In 1987 the players (i.e., team delegates) within the National Wheelchair Basketball Association voted overwhelmingly against the inclusion of players without disabilities. The athletes themselves should continue to have control of wheelchair sports.

A. Thiboutot is with the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, 110 Seaton Bldg., U. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506.. R.W. Smith is with the Leisure Studies Program, 203 South Henderson Bldg., Penn State Univ., University Park, PA 16802. S. Labanowich is with the Dept. of HPER, U. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506. Request reprints from R.W. Smith.

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