Purpose: This study explores what individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) perceive to be the benefits of becoming involved in organized sport and identifies the barriers to participation.
Method: Seven SCI athletes from a variety of sports were interviewed in a semi-structured format.
Results: 20 benefits and 18 individual barriers were identified and categorized into sub-themes: benefits were categorized into sub-themes of "socialization," "self-worth," "physical challenge" and "emotional." Barriers were grouped into "organization," "medical," "emotional," "a lack of available information" and "views held by others."
Conclusion: A variety of benefits from participating in sport were identified, including socialization, the acquisition of knowledge from others, the development of greater awareness of health and well-being issues, weight maintenance, functional development and independence. Barriers identified included financial constraints, the lack of information regarding medical complications and sporting opportunities, and the need for able-bodied support. The findings have implications for the rehabilitation of individuals with SCI.