Research has recently examined the role of impairment onset on athlete development in Paralympic sport; however, less is known on how impairment type can impact athlete sporting pathways. In this study, 187 Australian and Canadian Paralympic sport athletes completed a survey. Participants were divided into the following four groups: impaired muscle power (n = 79); ataxia, athetosis, and hypertonia (n = 44); limb deficiencies (n = 42); and other physical impairments (n = 22). Mechanisms of initiation into Paralympic sport varied between groups with some drawn to sport through friends and/or family (i.e., limb deficiencies and other physical impairments groups) while others through talent search programs (i.e., ataxia, athetosis, and hypertonia group) or health care professionals/rehabilitation centers (i.e., impaired muscle power group). Results revealed no significant differences between groups in the chronological age or absolute years for achieving milestones. However, considering the high variability within the sample, more research is necessary to better understand how athletes with different physical impairments navigate through their sporting careers.
Nima Dehghansai, Veronica Allan, Ross A. Pinder, and Joe Baker
ZáNean McClain, Erin Snapp, Daniel W. Tindall, and Jill Anderson
Danielle Peers, Lindsay Eales, Kelvin Jones, Aidan Toth, Hernish Acharya, and Janice Richman–Eisenstat
The purpose of this study was to assess the safety and meaningfulness of a 15-week recreational dance and singing program for people with neuromuscular conditions. Within a transformative mixed-methods design, pulmonary function tests, plethysmography through wearable technology (Hexoskin vests), individualized neuromuscular quality-of-life assessments (version 2.0), and semistructured interviews were used. The interviews were analyzed through inductive, semantic thematic analysis. Although the sample sizes were small (six people with neuromuscular conditions), the authors found no evidence of safety concerns. There was evidence of respiratory improvements and reported improvements in swallowing and speech. The most notable quality-of-life changes included improvements related to weakness, swallowing, relationships, and leisure. The participants shared that the program offered meaningful social connection and embodied skills and safe and pleasurable physical exertion. The authors learned that recreational singing and dancing programs could be a safe and deeply meaningful activity for those with neuromuscular conditions that impact respiration.
Minhyun Kim, José A. Santiago, Chan Woong Park, and Emily A. Roper
Grounded in occupational socialization theory, the authors examined adapted physical education (APE) teachers’ job satisfaction. Twelve (nine female and three male) APE teachers who had 3–43 years of teaching experience participated in the study. A semistructured interview was employed. The interviews focused on the participants’ roles and responsibilities. The following questions guided this study: (a) What social agents positively impact APE teachers’ job satisfaction? (b) what APE teachers’ roles and responsibilities are related to job satisfaction? and (c) what type of working conditions are linked to APE teachers’ job satisfaction? Thematic analysis was employed to analyze the data. The following four themes emerged from the analysis: (a) support from administrators, physical education teachers, and colleagues; (b) relevant and meaningful professional development; (c) itinerant working conditions; and (d) seeing students’ progress and achievement. The results of this study provide several implications to enhance APE teachers’ job satisfaction.
Alexandra M. Rodriguez, Alison Ede, Leilani Madrigal, Tiffanye Vargas, and Christy Greenleaf
This study aimed to assess the internalization of sociocultural attitudes and appearance comparison among U.S. athletes with physical disabilities. Female (n = 19) and male (n = 25) athletes between the ages of 18 and 73 years completed a quantitative survey along with two exploratory open-ended questions related to body appearance and influencers. Results showed significant correlations between internalization of the thin and low-body-fat ideal and appearance comparison (r = .55, p < .05) and internalization of the muscular ideal and appearance comparison (r = .76, p < .05) among women. For men, results showed a significant association between internalization of the muscular ideal and appearance comparison (r = .52, p < .05). The findings prompt further investigation of whether appearance comparison and internalization influence body dissatisfaction and disordered eating among athletes with physical disabilities.
Ghada Regaieg, Sonia Sahli, and Gilles Kermarrec
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two pedagogical strategies in adapted physical education (hybrid virtual/real vs. conventional) on fundamental movement skills (FMS) in children with intellectual disability age 7–10 years. Children with intellectual disability (N = 24) were randomly assigned to either the hybrid (experimental group) or the conventional (control group) group and were evaluated across 10 weeks. The hybrid program was based on virtual and real game situations, while the conventional program was based on adapted sports. FMS were evaluated using the Test of Gross Motor Development-2 at pre- and postprogram for both groups. Both programs significantly improve locomotor skills, with significantly better improvement in the experimental group. However, a significant improvement was observed only among the experimental group for object-control skills and gross motor quotient. Based on these results, a hybrid program may be considered for FMS improvement.
Darda Sales and Laura Misener
This study examined para swimmers’ athlete development experiences from the perspectives and reflections of athletes, and parents of athletes, with a focus on the constraints and challenges experienced. Guided by interpretive phenomenological analysis, 12 participants engaged in the interview process (seven parents and five athletes). Five themes were identified: fundamental skill development, personal connection, coaching, classification, and connecting with others “like me.” Through a discussion of the differences in development experiences between the participants in this study and the current literature on athlete development, the authors highlight areas of concern in applying a non-para-specific athlete development model to para swimmers. This study identifies several areas of consideration in the future design of a para athlete development framework or model.
Jacqueline Martins Patatas, Jens De Rycke, Veerle De Bosscher, and Rafael Lima Kons
The literature suggests that the current athlete development models do not reflect the multifaceted developmental pathways in Paralympic sport. This study aimed to analyze how parasport athletes progress through developmental phases of an athletic career pathway by comparing differences in their trajectories based on the nature of the impairment (acquired or congenital), age, and sex. A total of 345 para-athletes representing 15 sports completed an online survey. Results showed that the developmental phases for athletes with acquired impairment are of shorter duration, taking 4.5 years to progress from the attraction to the elite phase, while athletes with congenital impairment take 6 years. Athletes with congenital impairment start in parasport approximately 8 years younger and win medals in international competitions 7 years earlier than athletes with acquired impairment. Insights gathered in this study have the potential to enhance further thinking toward the genesis of specific models of para-athlete development.