The Challenge of the Physically Challenged: Delivering Sport Psychology Services to Physically Disabled Athletes

in The Sport Psychologist
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This paper discusses the delivery of sport psychology services to physically challenged (disabled) athletes. It begins with a description of the current status of athletic competition for physically disabled individuals. Commonalities in the sports experience of able-bodied and physically disabled athletes are addressed. Unique issues that must be considered for effective sport psychology consultations with disabled athletes are discussed. These include the background of physical and psychological trauma, altered physiological responses and medical problems, complexities in motivation to compete, unique performance problems, and the structure and organization of disabled sports. The article concludes with the effects of the social environment of disabled sports on the consultation process.

Michael J. Asken is with the Dept. of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Polyclinic Medical Center, 2601 North 3rd St., Harrisburg, PA 17110.

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