Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

How People with Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Deal with Sport in the Republic of Slovenia

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

How People with Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Deal with Sport in the Republic of Slovenia

Article excerpt

Introduction

Currently, physical inactivity is a global health issue that causes many diseases. Women, older adults, individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds and people with disabilities are less active (World Health Organization, 2003). Regular physical activity improves general health, reduces the risk of many diseases, strengthens bones and muscles, lowers blood pressure, slows heart rate, increases lung capacity, improves immune system, balance, and coordination of movements. In addition, it improves psychophysical abilities, affects overall well-being and the quality of life. Good physical fitness is particularly important during serious health problems or disabilities because it prevents the development of new functional limitations (Fentem, 1994; Nemcek, 2016; Marincek, 1981, Sherrill, & Williams, 1996). Sport has a positive impact on the development of positive self-esteem and positive self-image, enables increased control of self-determination and social inclusion and has a positive impact on the quality of life of people with disabilities because it equips them with important lifelong knowledge and empowers them for social integration in the community (Rimmer, Braddock, & Pitetti, 1996; Sherrill, & Williams, 1996). Physical activity of people with disabilities is also limited by architectural barriers, social exclusion and the physical inactivity trend (Fentem, 1994). High quality physical education during childhood and adolescence significantly contributes to educational achievements, personality development and health of child with disabilities. This influences movement development and builds the foundation for dealing with sport in adulthood, affects social and cognitive development, prevents behavioural problems and brings others long-term benefits (Doll-Trepper, & Scoretz, 1999). Inclusive physical activities are crucial for social integration because this, on the one hand, allows the society to accept diversity and increases tolerance, and on the other hand, it provides people with disabilities a greater independence and increases their self-image (Bürgel, & Carstens, 2012; Faganel, & Tusak, 2004; Sherrill, & Williams, 1996). The introduction should be understandable to a general reader. It gives a clear statement of the purpose of the paper and provides a relevant context to support the basis for the paper and the significance of the work. The reader does not have to exhaustively review the literature.

In Slovenian primary and secondary schools, the inclusion of children with physical disabilities in sports is determined by legislation. However, often, sports infrastructure is not accessible, and the professional competence of sports personnel is frequently of poor quality and inefficient (Filipcic, 2006; Kolar, Jurak, & Kovac, 2010; Krivonog, 2013; Stiftar, 2014; Strumbelj, & Zakrajsek, 2012; Verhovnik, 2012).

The main organization for the majority of sports for people with disabilities is the Paralympic Committee of Slovenia - Sports Federation for the Disabled of Slovenia. Research shows that in Slovenia, sports participation of people with disabilities is increasing (Strumbelj, & Zakrajsek; 2012).

In Slovenia, there is no systematic education of personnel in the field of sports for people with disabilities. Subjects that are related to sports education for people with disabilities are optional. The best knowledge of sports activities for people with disabilities is provided by special and rehabilitation pedagogues as well as by class teachers in primary school (Fidler, 2016).

The main purpose of the research was to determine the effects of spinal cord injuries (SCI) on dealing with sport and the implementation of inclusion of adults with chronic SCI in sports in Slovenia. We were interested in the differences regarding the level of SCI, current age, age when SCI occurred, years of disability and gender.

Materials and methods

The study relies on descriptive and causal-non-experimental methods of empirical pedagogic research. …

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