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

Funda Baran, Ece Top, Abdurahman Aktop, Dilara Özer, Sibel Nalbant

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=14.5±1.19 years, 23  without ID, mean age=14.1±0.89 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,McNemar’s test) and perception of the level of getting along with the other school friends (p<.05,McNemar’s test). In athletes, there was a  significant increase only in the recommendation of Unified Sports to a friend (p<.05,McNemar’s 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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