Disability Sports

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Tayler KyfiukNovember 23, 2012
Disability Sport and Athletics
"Each handicap is like a hurdle in a steeplechase, and when you ride up to it, if you throw your heart over, the horse will go along, too." (Lawrence Bixby, Disabled World News 2009.)
The role that sports play in the lives of people with disabilities can be very vital and important to their well-being. Through the growth of our society and scientific innovation disability athletics are becoming more and more accessible every day. However, there is still ample room for improvement in Canada’s laws and the average person’s outlook and responses concerning disability sport. Each of us can educate ourselves and strive to be celebratory and supportive of athletes with disabilities, whether it is a peer in our physical education class or an amazing athlete striving to compete in the Olympics. The revolution of athletics in the lives of people with disabilities began as a mean of rehabilitation and a way to get amputees integrated back into society. From this point, disability sports have grown and continued to help people with disabilities be seen by humanity as strong, abundant individuals and be seen on equal grounds as those without disabilities. Adaptable and therapeutic sports continue to aid people living with disabilities today by helping them gain physical, mental and emotional strength. The part that technological advancements have played in the world of disability sports is very significant as well. The existence of highly developed prosthetic limbs, eyes and wheelchairs has proven to be a beneficial advancement to athletes who have disabilities. However, the controversies concerning the pressures for people with disabilities to use personal equipment to change themselves, or make them more like the general population is still in strong speculation in the field of disability sports. I believe that one should have tools available to help them live the way that they choose and preform activities to their highest ability, although I am a strong believer that no one should be pressured to fit into the mold that society impresses upon them. The benefits that come from participation in sports and the practice of physical activity are well recognized in the lives of youth all over the world. Sports and athletics benefit children physically by introducing them to the healthy practice of exercise and fitness. Sports are also proven to benefit people, especially children mentally and emotionally. The sense of belonging to a team or an organized athletic group provides children with a unique sort of confidence, independence and feeling of acceptance. Federal laws exist in the United States to ensure that children living with disabilities are provided the same opportunity and right to participate in physical education classes in elementary and secondary schools as children without disabilities. This specific kind of law does not exist in Canada. According to my research, laws exist in Canada to ensure “free and appropriate education for all youth,” which includes youth that are living with disabilities. However, there is not a specific law in place that refers to physical education for children with disabilities. To add to this, the definition of an “appropriate education” can often be varyingly interpreted, especially in the case of children with disabilities. (Health analysis and measurement group, 2009, para. 1) Despite the existence of these federal laws, many people worry that children living with special needs often do not receive the same type of opportunity at physical education and sports as their peers. Many coaches are not correctly trained at how to include and encourage children with disabilities to succeed in sports. Quite often the peers and teammates of children with disabilities do not provide them with equal opportunities if these classmates are not well educated on that specific peer’s condition and abilities. The children without...
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