Disability in Sports

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Discrimination against the disabled has its roots in the ancient Greek and Roman culture. In fact, it is evident that the discrimination was so real to the extent that children born with disabilities were meant to be disposed of. Can you imagine disposing of human life just on the basis of them lacking a particular organ or them not being able to look like the other children? Is it really their fault? By and large, have they committed any crime? These are some of the pressing questions that the ancient Greeks and Romans needed to ask themselves.

In fact, by them coming up with the notion of “body beautiful” significantly attributed to the discrimination above and this trend has been in existence over the years. However, there is great news in the current times in that people have now begun to appreciate that indeed these individuals deserve the same opportunities as the rest of us and it is upon us to embrace them in all spheres of our lives. In particular, in the sporting world, there is the need to ensure that they fully participate in equal capacity to their peers so that they may feel included which is one of their fundamental rights. A great example is the Paralympics.

We can trace the theorization of disability back to the ancient Greco-Roman times where people were obsessed with bodily perfection (Thomas 105). In fact, there was no place for individuals who were considered different either physically or mentally. They were viewed negatively and had less of a worth. In most societies in those times, these said individuals were subjected to either torture, mockery or even in some worse situations death. This is an outcome that no one could ever wish for any human being. Even the first Christians had issues with the disabled in particular the mentally ill whom they considered ungodly (106). This historical overview sums up how difficult things were and the origin of marginalization of the disabled.

In general, sport should be a uniting factor in society. The sport has been known to bring people together, and this concept is not new but rather transcends even in the ancient Greco-Roman times. In particular, the famous gladiator games and the chariot racing were used as spectacles where the rulers wanted to attract their subjects in an attempt to ensure that they gain political mileage (Reid 105). Additionally, these events were used as a tool for the people to socialize by them having the ability to meet individuals from different parts of the empire during the time.

It is worth noting that in these times, there was a preference for well-built men who could be able to fight for their masters who would financially gain if their slaves won and as a reward, they would be able to grant their gladiators freedom. From this example, it is evident that there was no place for the disabled in the sporting world and they were regarded as useless. It is clear that during these events, sports was used as a socializing tool and hence the popularity of the games.

Over the years, there have been milestones in the sporting world as the world becomes more and more informed and the need to have a cohesive human race that is accommodative and does not discriminate. In particular, the first summer Paralympics games were held in Rome in 1960 (Thomas 116). It is worth noting that the games are now significantly larger than they were when they started. Despite the games being developed for the spinally-injured only, they now accommodate other individuals with other physical impairment. This clearly shows the contrast and the milestones that we have moved from the ancient times. The following graph shows the growth in numbers of the athletes from 1960 to the year 2000 (117).It is evident that there is an upward trend showing that the games have been used as a way to ensure there is inclusion.

As Blauwet and Stuart state, the Paralympics has been viewed as a worldwide movement that will be able to promote social integration of persons living with disabilities by being able to champion for their rights and at the same time promoting their health (854). The formulation and implementation of policies that can protect their rights have been a game changer, and there is also the need for us to do more to ensure that they are socially, economically and politically empowered. Sports have played a significant role in achieving this feat.

To conclude, we should be champions of change and socially upright individuals who ensure that there is no discrimination whatsoever when it comes to persons living with a disability. It is just a matter of them being abled differently, and there is a need for them to be accorded equal opportunities across all spheres and in particular in sports. Apart from athletics, there are also football tournaments for amputees, wheelchair games for basketball and tennis players, and even golfers are playing with amputated arms and legs. These all are a clear indication that much has been done in disability in sports, but there is always a room for improvement to do more.


Cite this paper

Disability in Sports. (2021, Apr 08). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/disability-in-sports/



What is an athlete with a disability?
An athlete with a disability is an individual who participates in sports and physical activities despite having a physical, intellectual, or sensory impairment. These athletes often require accommodations or adaptations to their equipment or environment to compete at their highest level.
What is the most popular disability sport?
The most popular disability sport is wheelchair basketball. It is a sport that can be played by people with a wide range of disabilities, and is a great way to stay active.
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