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Donna L. Goodwin, Robin Thurmeier and Paul Gustafson

The purpose of this study was to describe the metaphors of disability to which young people with physical disabilities felt they were exposed and the moderating influence of physical activity on the meanings ascribed to those metaphors. Fourteen participants (7 males, 7 females) with physical disabilities between the ages of 14 and 24 years participated in the study. Their experiences were captured by way of one-on-one audio taped semi-structured interviews and the use and interpretation of artifacts and field notes. Three themes emerged from the thematic analysis: don’t treat me differently, managing emotions, and physical activity balances perceptions. The implications of the findings are discussed within the context of stigma theory and the liminality of social indefinition.

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Donna L. Goodwin, David A. Fitzpatrick, Robin Thurmeier and Carol Hall

This phenomenological study explored the decision-making experience of parents whose children joined Special Olympics programs. The experiences of 16 families with children 10-22 years old were gathered through interviews, artifacts, and field notes. Three themes emerged from the thematic analysis (a) thoughtful instruction, (b) finding the fit, and (c) security of acceptance. Parents sought instructors who were interested in building relationships with their children and creating anxiety-free instructional environments for them. A good program fit occurred when instructors had expectations for motor skill development and increased independence. Parents also preferred environments that encouraged meaningful peer interactions. The findings were interpreted within the context of self-determination theory.

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Donna Goodwin, Keith Johnston, Paul Gustafson, Melanie Elliott, Robin Thurmeier and Heather Kuttai

This study explored the social experience of wheelchair rugby from the perspective of the players. Eleven national level rugby players (10 males, 1 female with a mean age of 33 years) shared their experiences through the phenomenological methods of semistructured focus group interviews and artifacts. Three themes emerged from the thematic analysis (a) it’s okay to be a quad, (b) don’t tell us we can’t, and (c) the power of wheelchair rugby. The athletes identified with a shared sense of community and the membership, fulfillment of need, influence, and shared emotional connections they used to authentically express themselves through their sport. The implications of the findings were interpreted within the theoretical context of psychological sense of community.