Athletes with lower limb paralysis' motives for competing in powerlifting

Piletic, Cynthia
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Powerlifting is an individual sport that inherently results in bodily changes in the individual training for the sport. In an effort to examine the aspects of the body and how it is presented by males with a disability, the focus of this research was on (a) why do men with lower limb paralysis participate in powerlifting and what factors are involved in the rationales given for participating in the sport, (b) how do men with lower limb paralysis perceived their physical self and how does this perception affect their presentation of self to others, and (c) how does society's definition of masculinity impact males' participation in sport and males' perception of their physical self. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to determine why males with lower limb paralysis participate in the organized sport of powerlifting. The participants of the study included 12 males with lower limb paralysis who were also elite male powerlifters. The participants of the study were interviewed and observed during a powerlifting competition held in Chicago, IL in June of 1998. The results of the study revealed that males with lower limb paralysis support 10 different themes that appear to impact their motives for participating in the sport of powerlifting. The ten themes included (a) physical self, (b) self-presentation, (c) masculinity, (d) stigma, (e) compensation, (f) empowerment, (g) camaraderie, (h) Hilgenbrinck physical appearance, (i) independence, and (j) victimization. No one theory explains what motivates males to participate in powerlifting. Men with lower limb paralysis participate in the sport for a number of reasons including (a) reducing the stigmatization and victimization and (b) compensating for and achieving a more culturally desirable physical appearance. The males' participation in sport often led to positive feelings about their physical self. Other benefits gained included (a) developed sense of independence, (b) developed sense of empowerment, and (c) enhanced opportunities for camaraderie.

Social sciences, Education, Athletes, Competing, Lower limb paralysis, Powerlifting