The Talent Paradox: Disenchantment, Disengagement, and Damage Through Sport

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 Oregon State University
  • 2 Adelphi University
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Previous researchers have demonstrated that sport participation can be a place of purpose, a place of celebrated deviance, and/or a value-neutral endeavor for children who have experienced developmental trauma. While previous research has focused primarily on sport as a positive influence, the purpose of this paper is to examine where disillusionment, disengagement, and damage occur through participation in sport. This study was guided by a constructionist epistemology, with the researchers aiming to understand how sport participation interacted with various system-level influences. Interviews were conducted with 41 former athletes, significant others, and community members. The results of this study explore how a sport system can contribute to disillusionment in sport, disengagement from sport, and damage done through sport.

Massey is with the School of Biological and Population Health Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA. Whitley is with the Department of Exercise Science, Health Studies, Physical Education, and Sport Management, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY, USA.

Massey (william.massey@oregonstate.edu) is corresponding author.
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