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Øyvind F. Standal

Through the increased use of qualitative research methods, the term phenomenology has become a quite familiar notion for researchers in adapted physical activity (APA). In contrast to this increasing interest in phenomenology as methodology, relatively little work has focused on phenomenology as philosophy or as an approach to professional practice. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to examine the relevance of phenomenology as philosophy and as pedagogy to the field of APA. First, phenomenology as philosophy is introduced through three key notions, namely the first-person perspective, embodiment, and life-world. The relevance of these terms to APA is then outlined. Second, the concept of phenomenological pedagogy is introduced, and its application and potential for APA are discussed. In conclusion, it is argued that phenomenology can help theorize ways of understanding human difference in movement contexts and form a basis of action-oriented research aiming at developing professional practice.

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Philip Maffetone

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Karen P. DePauw

Although historical mention of horseback riding for individuals with disabilities can be traced through the centuries, programs of therapeutic riding were not established until the mid-1900s. Since its inception, horseback riding for the disabled has become diversified and increasingly sophisticated. As a result, the programs have a varying emphasis on riding as sport, recreation, education, or therapy. The literature contains articles describing therapeutic riding programs that include claims of medical and educational benefits for participants. Although the programs have existed for 30 years, interest in research on the benefits of horseback riding for the disabled is relatively new. Despite the progress made, it is critical that professionals in horseback riding for individuals with disabilities (a) collect empirical evidence supporting the claimed benefits, (b) develop appropriate evaluation instruments/tools, (c) identify effective intervention techniques, (d) provide for accessibility of publications/information from Europe, and (e) develop printed materials and audiovisuals for the health professional community.

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Mark L. Latash

Living systems may be defined as systems able to organize new, biology-specific, laws of physics and modify their parameters for specific tasks. Examples include the force-length muscle dependence mediated by the stretch reflex, and the control of movements with modification of the spatial referent coordinates for salient performance variables. Low-dimensional sets of referent coordinates at a task level are transformed to higher-dimensional sets at lower hierarchical levels in a way that ensures stability of performance. Stability of actions can be controlled independently of the actions (e.g., anticipatory synergy adjustments). Unintentional actions reflect relaxation processes leading to drifts of corresponding referent coordinates in the absence of changes in external load. Implications of this general framework for movement disorders, motor development, motor skill acquisition, and even philosophy are discussed.

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James May, Ryan Krzyzanowicz, Alan Nasypany, Russell Baker and Jeffrey Seegmiller

Context:

Although randomized controlled trials indicate that the Mulligan Concept (MC) of mobilization with movement can improve pain-free grip strength and pressure pain threshold in patients with lateral epicondylalgia of the elbow, improve ankle dorsiflexion in patients with subacute ankle sprains, and decrease the signs and symptoms of patients with cervicogenic headache, little is known about the clinical application, use, and profile of certified Mulligan practitioners (CMPs) in America.

Objective:

To better understand the use and value of applying the MC philosophy in clinical-care environments from the perspective of American CMPs while establishing a clinical profile of a CMP.

Design:

Quantitative descriptive design. Setting: Online survey instrument.

Participants:

American CMPs.

Data Collection and Analysis:

Online survey instrument.

Results:

CMPs use the MC to treat a broad spectrum of spinal and peripheral clinical pathologies in primarily outpatient clinics with an active and athletic population. American CMPs also find value in the MC.

Conclusions:

American CMPs continue to use and find value in the MC intervention strategy to treat a broad spectrum of spinal and peripheral conditions in their clinical practices.

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Marcel Bouffard

Kerr and Blais’ (2000) paper is frequently ambiguous, incoherent, and severely misrepresents the work of Bouffard, Strean and Davis (1998). Kerr and Blais have committed the logical fallacy of attacking a straw man, which is to misrepresent an opponent’s argument presumably for the purpose of making its attack easier. Although they indicate their desire to proceed without reference to ontological and epistemological assumptions, they implicitly submit the contentious statement that eclecticism is a philosophy that has been accepted by movement skill acquisition researchers. They also endorse eclecticism as a philosophy. In this reaction, I question the validity of numerous statements made by Kerr and Blais and elaborate on some points we made in 1998. I conclude that Kerr and Blais’ paper is a parody of Bouffard, Strean and Davis’ work, which is unlikely to advance our understanding, and submit that the study of research assumptions is an essential part of genuine inquiry.

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Brent D. Slife

Behavioral science researchers have long acknowledged that their methods have certain technical limits: measurement errors, design restrictions, problems of inference, and other factors. Within these limits, however, many researchers have assumed that their methods provide truthful, accurate, or objective renderings of their subject matter. The problem is that the philosophical limitations of method qua method are often overlooked. Method is not a neutral tool of inquiry but a biased metatheory about how to adjudicate theories and findings. This bias is most evident in the modernist foundations for traditional science. Three modernist assumptions are described as integral to the philosophy and practice of traditional behavioral science: universalism, materialism, and atomism. For purposes of contrast and to facilitate conversation about these assumptions, three postmodern assumptions are also described: contextuality, lived experience, and radical holism. Neither set of assumptions is advocated. Rather, an evaluation of any method and its philosophy is advocated in light of the questions being asked and subject matter being investigated.

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Michael W. Churton

Development of personnel preparation programs has focused upon a progressive trend away from a strict adherence to a physical education philosophy to a philosophy that stresses more of a multidisciplinary approach. Early obstacles experienced by directors of personnel preparation programs included legislation, program development, and a limited body of knowledge. Future considerations include directors with varied educational backgrounds and a national movement toward quality education. Teacher training programs will need to redefine their curriculum offerings in adapted physical education to address quality assurance requirements. Future programs in adapted physical education will need to become more field based and address functional competencies that will prepare students to meet the psychomotor needs of handicapped children effectively.