Higher Education experiences of elite student-para-athletes in the UK

Campbell, Natalie (2016) Higher Education experiences of elite student-para-athletes in the UK.

View this record at http://research.stmarys.ac.uk/1261/


This paper presents the narrative accounts of 6 elite student-para-athletes attending Higher Education full-time in the UK. Whilst literature concerning the student-athlete population in the UK is growing (Sagar, Boardley and Kavussanu 2010; Henry 2013; Aquilina 2013; Anderson and McCormack 2014; Zhou, Heim and O’Biren 2015), there is no research at present that brings to the fore the voices of student-athletes who represent their country in Paralympic sports. In addition, research concerning the experiences of higher education students with disabilities in the UK is heavily concerned with the experience of learning as opposed to the more nuanced experiences of ‘being’ a university student. Accounts concerning the lived experience of higher education were gathered via semi-structured interviews and analysed through a process of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis producing an intricate, intimate and personal theme for each participant. Analysed and presented as individual case studies, the research demonstrates the uniqueness of experience despite the existence of common and shared life environments. The accounts explore three life-worlds – university, elite sport and disability – and expose the difference in meaning-making by each participant to the identities of ‘athlete’, ‘student’ and ‘disabled’, specifically within the context of higher education. The accounts are presented as three themes that illuminate the contrast in experience: 1) University as a normative and positive experience; 2) University as a disappointing and hindering experience; 3) University as an experience of personal salvation and purpose. Findings are mapped to the Social-Relational model of disability (Thomas 1999; 2004) to better understand the relationship between individual perception, impairment and environment.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: 378 Higher education, 796 Athletic & outdoor sports & games
Members: St Mary's University
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2016 12:52
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 12:52
URI: http://collections.crest.ac.uk/id/eprint/10715

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