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Garry D. Wheeler

The biological area of adapted physical activity research has traditionally been dominated by the positivist or rational empirical paradigm, or the scientific method. Underlying assumptions of the inquirer and inquired’s objectivity and independence have generated much criticism. Researchers have argued that the scientific method produces an impoverished view of reality and that claims to an objective and value-free stance are ideological and mythical. Critique of rational-empiricism, the scientific method, present science, or the received-view may be understood at three levels: intraparadigmatic, extraparadigmatic, and intramethod. Dr. Shephard (1998) addresses the latter in his paper and as such, his is a method-based approach. A methodological analysis, however, requires examining the underlying tacit assumptions of the scientific method. In this paper, critique of the scientific method is offered and justification of the critique examined. Proposed alternatives include an expansionist view of research, inclusion of subjective elements, triangulated designs, and empowerment of subjects.

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Garry D. Wheeler, Laurie A. Malone, Sandy VanVlack, Ewen R. Nelson and Robert D. Steadward

We examined the transition experiences and adjustment to retirement among 18 athletes with disabilities. Adopting a grounded theory approach, we interviewed athletes using a semistructured format based on Schlossberg’s (1981, 1984) transition model. Three basic questions were asked regarding the competitive period, events surrounding the retirement decision, and adjustment to retirement. Data were analyzed by an iterative process and a model was developed. Sport was a highly valued part of the lives of athletes; personal commitment to sport was evident and often taken to extremes including overtraining and ignoring medical advice. Transition from sport was an emotional experience for athletes, and difficulties were associated with voluntary versus involuntary retirement and readiness or lack of readiness for retirement. Coping with retirement appeared to be facilitated by readiness and having other job and family interests outside of sport. Many athletes expressed concern regarding chronic injuries and aging with a disability. We suggest that the Schlossberg model is a useful framework for examining athlete transition and adjustment to retirement.

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Garry D. Wheeler, Robert D. Steadward, David Legg, Yesahayu Hutzler, Elizabeth Campbell and Anne Johnson

This study aimed to examine the transferability of a personal investment process of disability sport to athletes from the USA, UK, Canada, and Israel. Initiation, competition, and retirement experiences of 40 athletes were examined. Results corroborate previous findings on athletes with and without disabilities and reveal no differences in major themes among athletes from different countries. A revised personal investment process model is proposed. Athletes with a disability should receive some form of preparatory counseling support before and after retirement. Difficulties during the transition to retirement are generally associated with overcommitment, ego identity in sport, and exclusion of other aspects of life (Baille, 1993; Blinde & Stratta, 1992; Hill & Lowe, 1974; Sinclair & Orlick, 1993). Factors associated with successful transition include sense of accomplishment, voluntary retirement, degree of ego involvement and commitment, anticipatory socialization, planning, social support structures, adequate financial support, and maintenance of outside interests (Baille, 1993; Sinclair & Orlick, 1993; Werthner & Orlick, 1986).