Most people with physical disabilities do not participate in sports regularly, which could increase the chances of developing secondary health conditions. Therefore, knowledge about barriers to and facilitators of sports participation is needed. Barriers and facilitators for people with physical disabilities other than amputation or spinal cord injuries (SCI) are unknown. The aim of this study was to provide an overview of the literature focusing on barriers to and facilitators of sports participation for all people with various physical disabilities. Four databases were searched using MeSH terms and free texts up to April 2012. The inclusion criteria were articles focusing on people with physical disabilities, sports and barriers and/or facilitators. The exclusion criteria were articles solely focusing on people with cognitive disabilities, sensory impairments or disabilities related to a recent organ transplant or similar condition. Fifty-two articles were included in this review, with 27 focusing on people with SCI. Personal barriers were disability and health; environmental barriers were lack of facilities, transport and difficulties with accessibility. Personal facilitators were fun and health, and the environmental facilitator was social contacts. Experiencing barriers to and facilitators of sports participation depends on age and type of disability and should be considered when advising people about sports. The extent of sports participation for people with physical disabilities also increases with the selection of the most appropriate sport.
Keywords: Sports; barriers; facilitators; people with physical disabilities; systematic review.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.