Descriptive Essay on Disability in Sport

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Carnegie Mellon University
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Research paper
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Disability in sport has been in existence for a long time but is yet to be given the maximum attention it requires. However, in the current world, the idea of people with a disability being able to partake in sport and physical activity is not so unusual. Disability in Sport can be referred to as games being played or undertaken by individuals with a disability which may include intellectual and physical. Disability in Sport has also been referred to as adaptive sports as a result of most disabled sports being constructed on the being of able-bodied sports. Sports that has been organized for athletes with a disability is categorized into three groups of disability. These are individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities and the deaf. Each of these groups also has a separate program of competition, history, organization and tactic to the sport (Thomas & Smith, 2008). Those with intellectual disabilities have a limitation mostly with the cognitive functioning and other skills. On the other hand, physically disabled individuals have a restriction on their physical functioning, stamina, and mobility. As such, they are limited in their daily operations such as blindness, respiratory disorders, and sleeping disorders among others (Nixon II, 2016).

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Arguments/Reasons as to why Disability in Sports is Contemporary

Canada has a Policy on Sport for Persons with a Disability. The plan offers an outline where stakeholders and partners participate in coming up with changes that will minimize the reduction of barriers that face individuals with a disability from partaking in sport. Moreover, the same policy also ensures that people with disability in Canada and who want to participate in sports do not face barriers that are social, environmental, personal, structural or systemic as well (Thibault & Harvey, 2013). The policy was formulated in 2006 which depicts that disability in sports has developed properly by this time. Support for people with disability to partake in sports has further been there, and as such, its progress is evident even in the current times.

Canada has also been recognized for its substantial contribution to the trend of disability in sport. It has been estimated that fourteen percent of Canadians have a form of disability that is either physical, sensory or intellectual. Among these people, some of them may even have more than one disability. The achievement of Canada in the area of Deaflympics, Paralympic, Special Olympics and other forms of sports for people with disabilities is also widely evident in the modern world. However, it has been purported that the high performance portrayed by Canada is not being replaced like the current age of athletes ("Athletes with Disabilities," 2017).

Sports has been observed to play a huge role in the lives of individuals who have disabilities. The growth of the scientific innovation disability athletics, medical technology, and even the society has supported the disability in the sport to a significant level. This is as a result of ensuring that infants, children or even adults receive the right form of care and thus can survive for longer with a disability. As such, there are individuals to partake in disability in sport hence its current existence and development. Furthermore, this aspect has resulted in the empowerment of the athletes just like the general population (Howe, 2011).

The population of Canada has further been observed to age at a high rate. As such, this results in few people who can partake in sports. Besides, it has also created more opportunities or gaps to be filled in the field of sports. These two reasons have thus created more chances for the disabled who are then encouraged and even supported to partake in sports in the country ("Environmental Scan 2010; Trends and Issues in Canada and in Sport", 2010). ALS is a disease that affects most people and thus hinders them from partaking in sports in various parts of the world. Canada has joined the international study to investigate the development of ALS. People with ALS have a life expectancy of three years after they have been diagnosed. Furthermore, Canada has set up The Neuro, a Central Canadian Center for ALS patient care and research. On the ALS awareness month in June, The Neuro further increases their efforts to inform the public and even the media on the disease. As such, this contributes to the growth of sports in the country and in turn, the adaptive one as well (Hayward, 2016).

Games for the disabled people are held in the international scene. Additionally, there are high-performance competitions for this group of the population. The Paralympic Games offers competition chances for contestants with visual impairment and physical incapacities. On the other hand, Special Olympics Games is a broad spectrum of individuals who are intellectually disabled. Events for the athletes with intellectual disabilities were even brought back during the Paralympic Summer Games of 2012. Games that have been played in the Paralympic Summer Games are such as cycling, athletics, goalball, powerlifting, judo, swimming, table tennis, volleyball, and shooting. Furthermore, there is also wheelchair rugby, fencing, and tennis. In 2016, triathlon and canoe were introduced (Higgs, Bluechardt, Way, Jurbala, & Legg, 2013). It is thus evident that regardless of disabilities, these people engage in sports just as the overall populace. A portion of them even desire to accomplish at the uppermost stages of global competition as well. It is also evident that there are significant routine prospects for the athletes with intellectual, sensory and mobility disabilities in the contemporary world.

Evolution of Disability in Sports from the Past to Present

The development of physical education in Canada was boosted by the economic depression of the 1930s. Fundamental changes were adopted to the curriculum of physical education. The Second World War, on the other hand, led to massive changes in Canada. Most of the resources, which is physical and human were channeled towards the war. Conversely, the growth of adapted physical activity in Canada was boosted by various aspects during the war. In the fall of 1940, the first Canadian degree program was issued. Most veterans who were returning from the war enrolled in the university curriculum. An increase in the number of enrolment and including physical education was observed. Seven Canadian universities were offering degree programs in physical education by the end of the decade. By 1965, several degree programs were now offered, that is no less than seventeen (Steadward, Wheeler, & Watkinson, 2003).

The National Physical Fitness Act was passed in July 1943. After two years, there was the establishment of the Parks and Recreation Association of Canada by the volunteers and professionals who were at the community level. In 1970, the name was transformed to the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association. The impact of the combat created a stimulus for bringing change. Dr. Ludwig Guttmann observed that there was rare participation in sport and physical activity by individuals with a physical handicap. The value for games for the people with paraplegia was published in a classic paper in 1945. It was titled New Hope for Spinal Cord Sufferers. There was a recommendation of various physical activities that would be enjoyed by people with physical activity. The first games for this group of the population were organized in 1948. It was referred to as the Stoke Mandeville Games for the Paralyzed and took place in Aylesbury, England. The games were undertaken by only sixteen athletes. This was because, since that time, tetraplegics and paraplegics had competed annually at Stoke Mandeville. The rise in the number of athletes with a disability partaking the International Stoke Mandeville Games was as a result of the original games that had been organized by Guttmann (Steadward, Wheeler, & Watkinson, 2003).

There were positive developments that were happening for people with physical disabilities. The first National Games for Athletes with Disabilities was organized in 1968. It was held under the auspices of the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association. The late 1960s saw the adoption of physical activity leaders who looked into the needs of the physical education for children with a learning disability. Various stakeholders were involved in coming up with development studies for this group of the population. Their work stimulated interest in the needs of people with a disability in their local areas. Furthermore, they also insisted on the significance of considering the physical activity needs of all students. In the next decade, there was a substantial mobilization of voluntary and professional effort in the adapted physical activity field (Steadward, Wheeler, & Watkinson, 2003).

In the 1970s, significant developments took place in the disability in the sports field. A law was passed in the US that also had a significant influence on the recreational and educational services in Canada. It was also an indication of new values that should guide interactions with people with a disability. In 1980, individuals with a disability were empowered by the action of Terry Fox who ran through Canada to raise cash and consciousness for cancer examination. His work brought the Canadians closer to a person with a disability and thus empower them in a positive way. The 1990s was about addressing the challenges at the national and international levels that were being faced by people with disabilities. One of the major initiative at this time that was meant to facilitate self-empowerment and increase physical activity was the development of a series of resource manuals. They were developed to assist teachers in enhancing the participation of students with a disability in sports and other physical activity opportunities (Steadward, Wheeler, & Watkinson, 2003).

The year 2000s were marked by events that were organized for support of and development of disability in sports. The Canadian Paralympic Committee grew to include twenty sports organizations. There have been various participations by the disabled in Canada. For instance, there was Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008 where they won fifty medals and Parapan American Games in 2007 where they obtained one hundred and twelve medals that Canada participated. Canada has since continued to take part in Paralympic Games all over the world and depicted their victory (Our History, 2013).

Overview of Current Research

Various organizations support disability in sports in Canada. There is the Special Olympics Sport for Life that provides an enriching reward for youth, adults, and children who have an intellectual disability. There is also the BC Wheelchair Sports which is a non-governmental organization. It is dedicated to providing people with disabilities access to quality programs. They partner with other Provincial Wheelchair Sports Societies across Canada. On the other hand, there is the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball Association that is accountable for organizing wheelchair basketball in Canada. Their primary task is to stimulate distinction and progress chances for the disabled individuals in Canada who are interested in basketball. Canadian Cerebral Palsy Sports Association is focused on the national organization for managing and current sports opportunities that are targeted to the athletes with disabilities of or related to cerebral palsy (Pro Sports & Disability Sports Leagues, 2017).

The Canadian Tire Family of Companies collaborates with other sports organizations in Canada to encourage participation in sport and healthy living among Canadians as well. The collaboration with other organizations that are on...

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