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Abstract Details

Abstract Title

Using Long-Term Athlete Development to Integrate Athletes with a Disability: The Canadian Experience

Abstract Theme

Sport development

Type Presentation

Oral presentation

Abstract Authors

Presenter Colin Higgs - Memorial University (Human Kinetics and Recreation) - CA
Presenter David Legg - Mount Royal University (Sport) - CA

Presentation Details

Room: Merc├║rio        Date: 4 September        Time: 10:00:00        Presenter: Colin Higgs

Abstract Resume

Case Study

Background:  Since 2005 all National Sport Organizations (NSOs) in Canada have created Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) Framework (guidelines) for their sport participants. Since
the mid-1990s those same NSOs have been responsible for athletes with a disability, and their LTAD frameworks were meant to address the development needs of persons with impairment, and thereby
increase diversity of participants.  The developed LTAD frameworks were designed to support both population health through mass participation, and the development of elite athletes.  Consideration of
development of athletes with impairment was not a high priority for many sports, and depth of coverage was inconsistent
Process used: An exemplar generic (not sport specific) LTAD framework was developed by a group of experts who then mentored National Sport Organizations to develop their own sport-specific framework
based on the generic template.  Using this approach 55 NSOs were assisted to develop sport-specific frameworks that to a lesser or greater degree integrated persons with a disability into both high
performance sport pathways, and population health pathways. The original sport-specific LTAD frameworks were completed between 2005 and 2010, and served to highlight athlete development gaps and
programming shortcomings.  As a result almost all sports modified (a) their programs, (b) their competition structure, and (c) their coaching materials.
Many sports are now revisiting, reviewing, updating and expanding their LTAD framework documents, and under pressure from a major Sport Funder (Sport Canada) and from the Canadian Paralympic
Committee) are more fully integrating persons with impairment into their development pathway and programming. Current development pathways for individuals with congenital and acquired impairments will
be presented.
Lessons learned: 1. NSOs benefit from both exemplar pathways for developing athletes with impairment, 2. Articulating the athlete development pathway for persons with impairment in official National
Sport Organization (Federation) documents validates para-sport, increases awareness of para-sport, and helps identify sport development gaps for persons with impairment, and,  3. When NSOs present a
development pathway for persons with impairment, individuals with impairment can hold NSOs accountable for the delivery of pathway programs.
Conclusions: Mentoring of individual sports to adapt exemplar LTAD frameworks to meet para-sport-specific needs is an effective mechanism for increasing awareness of disability sport,
increasing sport opportunities for persons with impairment, and providing guidance on increasing participation for health and wellness and guidance on developing high-performance athletes.

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