Despite the stigma usually attached to disabled people, and the attendant difficulty in picturing disabled people in “normal” societal roles interacting and competing with nondisabled people, a mandate for integrating disabled and nondisabled people in all areas of society has been thrust upon Americans during the past decade through judicial, legal, and social pressures and political action. This paper focuses on the appropriate integration of disabled and nondisabled people in sport. It considers some potentially salient personal attribute and background parameters (i.e., type and severity of disability and amount of sports background) and sports structure parameters (i.e., type of sport, amount of disability adaptation, and degree of competition) that could affect the extent to which integration efforts in sport result in genuine integration and a reduction in the stigmatization and handicapped minority status of disabled people. It is hoped that this paper, and the general hypotheses it proposes about appropriate integration, will serve to guide future research and informed action in program planning and implementation aimed at integrating disabled and nondisabled people in sport.
Direct all correspondence to: Howard L. Nixon II, Department of Sociology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405.