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Personal development of participants in Special Olympics unified sports teams.

Wilski, M, Nadolska, A, Dowling, S, McConkey, Roy and Hassan, David (2012) Personal development of participants in Special Olympics unified sports teams. Human Movement, 13 (3). pp. 271-279. [Journal article]

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URL: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/humo.2012.13.issue-3/v10038-012-0032-3/v10038-012-0032-3.xml

DOI: 10.2478/v10038-012-0032-3.

Abstract

Purpose. This study aims to identify the impact of the Special Olympics’ Unified Sports program on the personal development of its participants. Methods. A qualitative method was used, which included gathering data by interviewing individual athletes and unified teams, by collecting individual personal histories and by use of connection charts from five European countries that participate in the Unified Sports program. A total of 221 data samples were recorded. Results. Athletes reported improvements in their abilities on the field as well as increased fitness and technical ability. They emphasized the importance of team-work and trust between athletes. Improvements in confidence, self-esteem and communication skills were also reported by athletes. Partners also reported a positive change in attitude towards people with intellectual disabilities. Friendships were a central and vital aspect of taking part in the teams. Friendships developed between athletes and partners. Athletes reported increased access to community “places” such as sports facilities and social venues. Conclusions. Unified Sports is an exciting initiative thatholds much promise in transforming the life experiences of young athletes with intellectual disabilities. The impact of the Unified Sports program on the personal development of participants applies to all areas of human functioning – physical, mental and social. Our evaluation suggests that its concepts and modes of operations transcend national boundaries and cultures at least within a European context.

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Sport
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Nursing
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute > Centre for Sport in Society
Institute of Nursing and Health Research
Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute
Institute of Nursing and Health Research > Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
ID Code:29586
Deposited By: Prof Roy McConkey
Deposited On:09 Jun 2014 08:57
Last Modified:09 Jun 2014 08:57

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