Visually impaired sport

Macbeth, Jessica Louise orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2564-2267 (2020) Visually impaired sport. In: Movement and visual impairment: Research across disciplines. Routledge, Oxon, UK, pp. 78-96. ISBN 978-0-367-43439-7

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The organisation and development of visually impaired (VI) sport across the globe is complex. The Paralympic Games feature only a select number of sporting events for visually impaired athletes (VIAs) and is just one event in a relatively invisible VI sport calendar of regional and international championships across a range of sports. VI sport also assumes a relatively marginal status within the academic fields of sport, disability studies and vision science. Visually impaired people are amongst the most inactive of minority groups and access to sporting opportunities can be problematic, denying a range of health, social and psychological benefits. As will be shown in this chapter, sport can have an important empowering role to play, but VI sport is also laced with challenges which can threaten the value of inclusion. This chapter provides brief context to VI sport, before summarising pockets of multidisciplinary research around several prominent themes: socialization experiences; barriers, facilitators and equity issues; meaning and identity; sensory experiences and; classification. What emerges from the research is a diverse range of practical implications and considerable scope for further research which could have an important role in developing accessible, inclusive and equitable sporting opportunities for people with visual impairment.

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