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

Cathy McKay, Jana Walters, Justin Haegele


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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Disability sport; college; wheelchair sports; documentary

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