The Impact of a Disability Sport Documentary: Depicting the College Student Viewing Experience through Reflective Essays


  • Cathy McKay
  • Jana Walters
  • Justin Haegele


Disability sport, college, wheelchair sports, documentary


The purpose of this study was to seek to understand and describe university student perceptions of disability sport after viewing a documentary film on wheelchair basketball. This study utilized a phenomenological approach, and a purposeful sample of 20 college students acted as participants. Data in this study were in the form of reflective writing responses. The thematic analysis revealed three interrelated themes: (a) “this film really gave me a unique perspective on the disabled community”: new knowledge and perspective; (b) “this film made me feel sad but inspired at the same time”: a mix of emotions; and (c) “never being able to walk again is one of my worst nightmares”: thankful for being able-bodied. The findings from this study can help inform university programs on ways to address social inclusion, and sociocultural attitudes and perceptions about disability, through film-based disability sport education.

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