EVALUATION OF A UNIFIED FOOTBALL PROGRAM BY SPECIAL OLYMPICS ATHLETES, PARTNERS, PARENTS, AND COACHES


Abstract


The purpose of the study was to compare the perceptions of athletes, partners, parents, and coaches
regarding their commitment to the concept of Unified Sports, and their overall satisfaction with the
8 weeks Unified Football Program at the beginning and the end of the program. Participants were
46 boys with and without Intellectual Disabilities (ID) (23 with ID, mean age=14.51.19 years, 23
without ID, mean age=14.10.89 years). The Unified Sport Questionnaire forms were administered
to athletes, partners, coaches, and parents as a pretest in the second week of the training and a post
test just after the tournaments. There were significant decrease in after program responses of
partners in enjoyment of training (p<.05,McNemars test) and perception of the level of getting
along with the other school friends (p<.05,McNemars test). In athletes, there was a significant
increase only in the recommendation of Unified Sports to a friend (p<.05,McNemars test).
Athletes and partners parents perceived improvements in abilities, behaviors and relations of their
children. All of the coaches believed in the necessity of rule modification during the program.
According to the results of this study, Unified Sports would enable to integrate children with
intellectual disability into society and increase social awareness of their peers without disabilities.

Keywords


Special Olympics; Unified Sports Program; intellectual disabilities; football

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