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Celina H. Shirazipour, Madelaine Meehan and Amy E. Latimer-Cheung

The Invictus Games are a parasport competition for service members and veterans with illnesses and injuries. The 2014 Games were aired by the BBC, for a total of 12 hr of coverage. This study aimed to investigate what messages were conveyed regarding parasport for veterans during the BBC’s Invictus Games broadcast. A content analysis was conducted. Five qualitative themes were identified: sport as rehabilitation, the promotion of ability over disability, the social environment, key outcomes of participation, and the importance of competition. Quantitative results indicated that 2 segment types accounted for the majority of the broadcast: sport coverage (50.57%) and athlete experiences (12.56%). Around half of the coverage focused on participants with a physical disability (51.62%). The findings demonstrate key similarities to and differences from previous explorations of parasport media coverage, with the needs of the event and athlete population potentially influencing the broadcast.

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Kate Ferrara, Jan Burns and Hayley Mills

Despite some changes to the way that people with intellectual disabilities (ID) are viewed in society, negative attitudes prevail. One of the aspirations of the 2012 Paralympic games was to influence the public’s attitudes toward people with disabilities. The aim of this study was to investigate whether stimuli depicting people with ID performing at Paralympic level of competition change attitudes toward ID. A mixed randomized comparison design was employed comparing 2 groups: those who viewed Paralympic-level ID sport footage and information and those who viewed Olympic footage and information. One hundred fourteen students, mean age 25 yr, were administered measures of implicit (subconscious) attitudes toward disability and explicit (belief-based) attitudes toward ID. Implicit attitudes significantly changed in a positive direction for both groups. The findings provide evidence that both Paralympic (ID) and Olympic media coverage may have at least a short-term effect on attitudes toward people with disabilities.

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Brent Hardin and Marie Hardin

This study explores the media-related attitudes and values of 10 male wheelchair athletes by soliciting their opinions and suggestions concerning disability sport print media. Using the “auto drive” technique for qualitative data collection, the analysis reveals four themes: (a) athletes are avid consumers of mainstream sport media; b) they use both mainstream and niche publications; (c) they do not want “courtesy coverage,” but instead, coverage focusing on elite elements of their sports; (d) they are unsure of media obligation in the coverage of sports involving athletes with disabilities. While the scope of this investigation is limited to male wheelchair athletes, the themes can provide a basis for further analysis and study in the emerging area of sport media research as it relates to disability.

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