CHAPTER 3 INCLUSION OF INDIVIDUALS WITH A MOBILITY IMPAIRMENT IN A SPORT ENVIRONMENT
Philosophers, poets, fans and academics have each tried to explain the intrinsic appeal of sport, to distill its essence, yet it remains seductively elusive, beyond lyrical and analytical efforts to define its ‘true’ nature. On a base level, sport is no more than a banal physical pastime, where bodies are set against one another to secure territory, take possession or outperform each other, or they compete only against themselves, challenging and conquering nature in the pursuit of increasingly extreme and amazing feats. But none who have known the highs and lows of competition would ever agree that sport is little more than actively passing the time. For many, sport means so much more. (Magdalinski, 2009:14).
Chapter three deals with the inclusion of and participation in physical activity and sport by individuals, including individuals with a disability. The importance of participation in physical activities and sport in general is briefly discussed. Although participation in physical activities and sport is important, some individuals may prefer not to take part in these activities. It is therefore significant to investigate what the possible reasons for non-participation could be.
A specific section of the chapter focuses on athletes with a disability. An attempt is made to understand how athletes with a disability are accommodated in South African schools and how their sport participation is facilitated. Their specific reasons for non-participation are investigated. Suggestions are made about how to accommodate participation of all athletes. Adaptive sport is then discussed as an alternative to encourage athletes with a disability to engage in sport. A distinction is made between Paralympic sport and non-Paralympic sport. With regard to Paralympic sport, the history of the Paralympic movement and criteria for participation in the various sports under the Paralympic movement are discussed. A comprehensive explanation is provided which includes images and a short description of all the Paralympic sports. If athletes do not qualify to take part in the identified Paralympic sports, or are not interested in those sports, the possibilities of alternative sport that they can consider must be investigated and therefore a need for non-Paralympic sport is established. For this reason the alternative sport is discussed.
For an athlete to participate in a non-Paralympic sport, exposure to various sports at school level is important. A brief overview of the situation of school sport is provided to determine how the needs of athletes with a mobility impairment are accommodated in schools to ensure full participation in sport. Guidelines, which include images and a short description of some of the non-Paralympic sports that could be adapted to suit athletes with a mobility impairment, are provided. This will demonstrate how to create more possibilities for athletes with a mobility impairment whose focus is not necessarily participation on the highest sport level, but participation for the love of the sport.
Finally, existing research is reviewed to determine the impact of participation in sport by athletes with a disability on a recreational level or on a professional level.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PARTICIPATION IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES AND SPORT
Taking part in physical activities and sport includes a variety of activities in different sport environments. Athletes have their own reasons for taking part in certain physical activities and sport. The diversity of reasons for sport participation indicates the diversity in experiences of sport activities. Seippel (2006:58) identified several general reasons for being active in a sport program: joy and fun; to keep fit; mental recreation; social factors; possible achievements and competition; expressivity; and body appearance.
Both formal studies and anecdotal evidence prove that participation in physical activity and sport has numerous benefits for individuals. The most general positive outcomes of taking part in sport are the improvement in physical health, strength building, enhanced coordination and motor skills, and improved cardiovascular health (Allender et al., 2006:826). Virgilio (2012:5) identified the following physical benefits from physical activities: weight control, controlled blood pressure, a reduced risk of heart diseases, avoidance of some cancers and type 2 diabetes, reduced cholesterol levels and the development of strong bones and muscles.
Another important aspect of participation in physical activities and sport is the impact that it has on emotional healing and psychological wellbeing (Coakley & Dunning, 2000:477; Nancy, Murphy, Paul, Carbone & The Council on Children with Disabilities, 2008:1057-1058). Participation in physical activities and sport provides a positive outlet for aggression and stress and helps alleviate depression and anxiety. It improves mental functioning and concentration. Physically active people may also experience self-confidence and improved self-image (Coakley & Dunning, 2000:477; USAID, sa:4). Physical activities and sport experiences can enrich emotional development by cultivating capacities for care, self-worth, strength of will, good judgment, understanding, love and friendship (Potgieter, 2003:182). Coakley and Dunning (2000:477) also mentioned that involvement in sport helps learning to control emotions, disciplining the self and managing emotions. An overall improved quality of life and psychological wellbeing result (Virgilio, 2012:5).
Participation in physical activities and sport also plays a significant role in healthy social development and interaction. Allender et al. (2006:826) found that although most people recognized the health benefits, this was not their main reason for participation in sport. Factors such as enjoyment, social interaction and support were more common reasons for participation in physical activity. Through participation in sport individuals learn how to set and achieve goals through discipline and hard work. Physical activities nurture the development of decision making and leadership abilities while teaching people to deal with failure as well as success.
According to Hill (2007:3-4), the pattern of sports participation can be represented by a pyramid shape, with the majority of athletes at the bottom at grass-roots level. At this level, it is mainly school children and those playing sport as a hobby or social activity. They take part purely for the enjoyment it brings. From the second level of the pyramid, athletes are acquiring more skills and are more determined to succeed; therefore these athletes are training and competing on a regular daily or weekly basis. At the top of the pyramid are the elite or high level athletes who are totally committed to the sport, often as a career, although not all of them may be professionals. These elite athletes have a special ability in sport that excels the norm. They have reached the pinnacle of performance in their sport and are competing at national and international level.
During the development of a young child, important skills must be learned. These skills are learned through practice. According to Honeybourne (2006:6-7), three main types of skill may be developed during physical activity and sport, namely cognitive skills, motor skills and perceptual skills. The cognitive skills are the intellectual and mental skills of the sports performer. These skills affect perception. The cognitive skills are critical for effective decision making and problem solving. Motor skills are physical limb movements that are directed towards the achievement of a particular goal. These skills are learned at a very young age, usually through play. If learned thoroughly, these motor skills can be adapted or refined to form part of specific sports skills. Perceptual skills involve the interpretation of information received so that a motor plan can be formulated. Perception is affected by previous experiences and attentional control (Honeybourne, 2006:7-8).
Physical activity is essential for healthy child development during the critical first six years of life. From an early age physical literacy can be divided into three sections (Canadian Sport for Life, sa:8-10):
Active start: Ages 0-6 Physical activity during this time:
lays the foundation for future success in skill development, by helping children enjoy being active, learning to move efficiently, and improving coordination and balance
creates neural connections across multiple pathways in the brain, particularly when rhythmic activities are used
enhances development of brain function, coordination, social skills, gross motor skills, emotional development, leadership and imagination. Helps children to build confidence and develop positive self-esteem
helps build strong bones and muscles, improves flexibility, develops good posture, improves fitness, promotes a healthy body weight, reduces stress and improves sleep. Canadian Sport for Life, sa:9).
Fundamentals: Ages 6-9
This is a critical stage and the foundations of many advance skills are laid down:
skill development for children this age is best achieved through a combination of unstructured play in a safe and challenging environment; and quality instruction from knowledgeable teachers/leaders/coaches in community recreation activities, schools, and minor sport programs skill development during this stage should be well-structured, positive and FUN, and should concentrate on developing the ABCs – Agility, Balance, Coordination and Speed, plus rhythmic activities hand and foot speed can be developed especially well by boys and girls during this stage and if this window of opportunity to develop speed is missed, body speed later in life may be compromised this is a great age for children to take part in a wide range of sports and they should be encouraged to take part in land-based, water-based and ice/snow based activities at different times of the year it is important that all children including those with a disability, master fundamental movement skills before sport specific skills are introduced strength, endurance and flexibility need to be developed, but through games and fun activities rather than a training regimen learning to ‘read’ the movements going on around them and make sound decisions during games are critical skills that should be developed at this stage (Canadian Sport for Life, sa:10).
Learn to train: Ages 9-12
This is the most important stage for the development of sport-specific skills as it is the period of accelerated learning of coordination and fine motor control. It is also the time when children enjoy practicing skills they learn and they can see their own improvement.
It is still too early for specialization in late specialization sports. Although many children at this age will have developed a preference for one sport or another, for full athletic development they need to engage in a broad range of activities, playing at least 2-3 different sports.
While competition is important, it is learning to compete that should be the focus – not winning. For best long-term results 70% of time in the sport should be spent in practice, with only 30% of the time spent on competition.
This is an important time to work on flexibility and to develop endurance through games and relays (Canadian Sport for Life, sa:10).
According to Higgs (Canadian Sport for Life, sa:13), athletes with a disability go through the same stages of athlete development as their non-disabled peers. Athletes who acquire a disability go through the same developmental stages as their peers until the onset of their disability, and then, especially for those with traumatic injury, pass through the same stages again – but now with their ‘new bodies’. The participation of children with a disability in physical activities and sport also promotes inclusion, minimizes deconditioning, optimizes physical functioning, and enhances overall-wellbeing (Murphy & Carbone, 2008:1057).
In the light of the importance and benefits of physical activity and sport, it is alarming to see that children in general are becoming less involved in physical activities and sport. According to McVeigh and Norris (2012:43), South African children show trends of obesity and overweight and less than one-third of the children participate in sufficient physical activity on a weekly basis. Draper, Basset, De Villiers, Lambert and the HAKSA Writing Group (2014) also reported on the decline of physical activity and concluded as follows: ‘South Africa has moved from a C [grade] in 2010 to a D grade in terms of getting children physically active and eating healthily. The time has come for engaging parents and communities for advocacy and social mobilization’ (Draper et al., 2014:S104). This leads to the question of what could be the possible reasons provided for non-participation in physical activities and sport by children without impairments, as well as children with impairments.
REASONS FOR NON-PARTICIPATION IN SPORT
Research indicates specific reasons for non-participation in sport. Crawford and Godbey (1987:8) identified three categories of constraints: intrapersonal (lack of self-confidence, lack of encouragement or lack of information about opportunities), interpersonal (associated with other individuals including lack of leisure partners or lack of social interaction skills) and structural (lack of finances, lack of transportation, lack of time or architectural barriers).
Kirk and Kirk (1993:86) established that certain internal factors such as low self-esteem, lack of confidence, lack of general information, conflict between personal values and athletics goals, fear of failure and a lack of decision-making skills could be regarded as possible barriers. Singer, Hausenblas and Janelle (2001:517) identified the following as possible barriers to sports participation: lack of physical skills, lack of confidence, lack of feedback, unrealistically difficult goals and too many vague and conflicting goals.
A number of external factors can also be identified as possible causes to barriers to sport participation. Kirk and Kirk (1993:86) found that only a few role models, lack of mentors, stereotyping, discrimination, admission criteria, socioeconomic status and background, family expectations, a lack of trained staff and peer pressure were aspects that limited sport participation. Parents and peers can also have a negative influence on sport participation which could result in withdrawal from sport. Singer et al. (2001:517) identified barriers such as lack of time for proper training, personal and family responsibilities and lack of social support.
Mchunu (Mchunu, 2008:59-61; Mchunu & Le Roux, 2010:89-90) also mentions the following barriers:
a lack of facilities (inadequate equipment for sports, no organized recreational activities in the area, lack of a coach and underdeveloped sporting facilities) political factors (racial inequality in sport, cultural isolation of black players and bias of coaches) social factors (siblings do not like sport; culture does not encourage sport participation; community associated sport participation with drugs and family members do not think the athlete is good enough) self-image (do not want to get sunburnt; too shy to make mistakes in front of others; do not like publicity; not happy with present body weight and a fear of failure) economic factors (lack of proper sport kit; expensive subscription fees; expensive equipment) health.
These general barriers could also apply to athletes with a mobility impairment, together with a few additional barriers. It is important for the current research to determine the barriers that are responsible for preventing sport participation by athletes with a disability.
CHAPTER 1 ANALYSIS OF THE PROBLEM AND RESEARCH PROGRAMME
1.2 AWARENESS OF THE PROBLEM
1.3 FORMAL STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.4 AIM OF THE RESEARCH
1.5 RESEARCH PROGRAM
CHAPTER 2 EXPLORING DISABILITY
2.2 TOWARDS A COMMON LANGUAGE FOR DEFINING DISABILITY
2.3 WHAT IS MEANT BY A DISABILITY?
2.4 TOWARDS A POSSIBLE DEFINITION OF DISABILITY
2.5 MANIFESTATIONS OF DISABILITY
2.6 MODELS OF DISABILITY
2.7 PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF LIVING WITH A DISABILITY
CHAPTER 3 INCLUSION OF INDIVIDUALS WITH A MOBILITY IMPAIRMENT IN A SPORT ENVIRONMENT
3.2 THE IMPORTANCE OF PARTICIPATION IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES AND SPORT
3.3 REASONS FOR NON-PARTICIPATION IN SPORT
3.4 INTEGRATING SPORT TO ACCOMMODATE ATHLETES WITH A DISABILITY
3.5 INTRODUCING ADAPTIVE SPORT
3.6 RESEARCH CONDUCTED ON THE IMPACT OF PARTICIPATION IN SPORT BY ATHLETES WITH A DISABILITY
CHAPTER 4 ANALYSIS OF THE PHENOMENON IDENTITY
4.2 BACKGROUND CONCERNING THE SELF AND IDENTITY
4.3 AN ANALYSIS OF THE CONSTRUCT SELF
4.4 AN ANALYSIS OF THE CONSTRUCT SELF-CONCEPT
4.5 AN ANALYSIS OF THE CONSTRUCT IDENTITY
4.6 THE MEASUREMENT OF IDENTITY
CHAPTER 5 EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION
5.3 RESEARCH DESIGN
5.4 PROCEDURES OF THE INVESTIGATION
CHAPTER 6 RESULTS OF THE EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION
6.2 TESTING OF THE HYPOTHESES
6.3 CONCLUSION OF THE EMPIRICAL RESEARCH
CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
7.2 THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LARGEST FRACTION OF THE VARIANCE IN THE IDENTITY FORMATION OF THE ADOLESCENT WITH A MOBILITY IMPAIRMENT
7.3 EVALUATION OF THE STUDY AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
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