Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Disability and Sport Management: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Disability and Sport Management: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Article excerpt


Disability is so far one of the main global problems on different levels: social, health, economic. It has been estimated that over one billion people in the world live with some form of disability. At least one-fifth of these, approximately 200 million individuals suffer from severe disabilities and so they are forced to face a number of significant difficulties and problems in everyday life. In addition, the percentages of disability in the world are constantly increasing due to the progressive aging of the population and the resulting increase in individuals suffering from chronic diseases (WHO, 2011; OECD, 2007).

From the need to deal with this important problem, an innovative approach defined disability management has been developed. It is aimed at improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities through the implementation of principles and rules that govern the management of the traditional economic and industrial sectors. It is expressed through the proposal of action programs and social policies to support a strategic and organizational system that wants to promote social, territorial, economic and labor inclusion of these individuals (Angeloni, 2011). Some aspects of inclusion and mental health have to be deepened to give a contribution at this field (Raiola 2015ab, Raiola et al., 2015). In this course of action, sport can, and must, make a fundamental contribution (Raiola, Tafuri, 2015, Altavilla et al., 2014) as well as the specific characterization of exergames and the use of new technologies (Sgro, et al., 2015, Raiola, Di Tore 2015).

After all the concept of sport is more and more often associated with that of disability. In fact, the link between sport and disabilities is intrinsic to the social nature of the first and to the possibilities of psycho-physical improvement that it is able to generate in the disabled people (Dowling et al., 2012; Mitchell, 2007; Nixon, 2000). "Adapted" sport was born in relatively recent times (in the 40s), and provides a valuable aid to promote independent living and to promote social inclusion of people with disabilities; for years the Paralympic games have supported the most popular Olympic games with an ever-growing number of disciplines, federations and athletes (Dowling et al., 2012; Legg & Steadward, 2011; Luongo, 2007). In this way the specific study on performance in sitting position could has the particular value for the sports of the Paralympics Committee such as the sitting volleyball (Alberti et al., 2014).

But in order to pursue effective and efficient objectives through sport for social, health and economic conditions aimed at improving disability in the world, it seems essential to assimilate the main principles of the enterprise management theory, in line with what is proposed by the model of disability management.

In support to this hypothesis, it is also worth remembering that sport over time has increasingly structured itself according to business policies with profit targets, through managerial organizations, and extending the market logic to activities previously set according to completely different criteria (Caselli, 2003; Di Palma, 2014; Gratton & Taylor, 2000). It is thus correct to assume and support the adoption of managerial settings also for the disability sport sector, so that it can turn into an asset in which to invest.

In this regard, the present work of systematic review of the literature has as its main objective to analyze the role of management in the disability sport and the benefits derived from it, with specific reference to the last 10 years.

Materials and methods

A literature review was conducted using three electronic journal databases: EBSCO, Elsevier and


The presentation of the results conforms to the PRISMA methodology (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) for submission of systematic reviews.

- Selection of Articles

The keywords used were "sports management", "sports disability", "disability management. …

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