‘I’ll always find a perfectly justified reason for not doing it’: Challenges for disability sport and physical activity in the United Kingdom

Ben Ives, Ben Clayton, Ian Brittain, Christopher MacKintosh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)
    185 Downloads (Pure)


    This study aimed to provide insight into the experiences of and attitudes to sport and physical activity for disabled people. Data were generated through semi-structured interviews with eight facilitators and focus groups with 24 members across three disability support organisations. Using ableism as the primary sensitising concept, our iterative analysis revealed that although all facilitators and disabled people were aware of the physical and mental wellbeing benefits of sport and physical activity, only 2 of the 24 disabled participants met the UK Government guidelines for physical activity. Findings showed that participation was hampered by a number of external and internal barriers, including the cost of transport and activities, ineffective modes of communication and advertisement, preconceived images of sport as competitive and judgemental, and anxieties about sporting abilities. Importantly, this study highlighted that many of these barriers were a pretext for a lack of enjoyment, and makes suggestions for future practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)588-606
    Number of pages19
    JournalSport in Society
    Issue number4
    Early online date19 Dec 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Sport in Society on 19/12//2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17430437.2019.1703683

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • Ableism
    • barriers
    • disability
    • physical activity
    • sport

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cultural Studies


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