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'Cripping' care in disability sport: an autoethnographic study of a highly impaired high-performance athlete

Abstract
In this article we combine the fields of critical disability studies and the sociology of sport to disrupt and extend current understandings of athlete welfare and care. A focus on athlete welfare is producing heightened awareness of the need for institutional, structural and personal support for athletes. Notions of ‘care’ are proliferating in sport discourse, with sport organisations routinely described as having a ‘duty of care’ towards athletes. In high performance disability sport, however, the provision and arrangement of care is often based on a view of the disabled athlete as high functioning, autonomous and independent. This perspective is further complicated when considering the provision of care for people with high support needs. Drawing on cripistemology, we argue that a politics of knowledge confirms a certain squeamishness around care practices and care knowledge in disability sport. One of us – a high performance, highly impaired athlete in Aotearoa New Zealand, offers an autoethnographic account of her experiences of training and competing, illustrating the embodied and intimate care needed for her continued engagement in high performance sporting practices. In keeping with wider calls in critical disability studies to bring the study of the body and therefore impairment back into disability discourse, we offer this personal narrative to ‘crip’ care knowledge, focusing on the materiality of bodies as they intersect with sport. Finally, we argue that sport scholars, practitioners and governing bodies must consider the embodied care politics of disabled athletes in order to deepen understandings of impairment, inequalities, and social inclusion.
Type
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Series
Citation
Date
2022-02-18
Publisher
ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
Degree
Supervisors
Rights
This is an author’s accepted version of an article published in Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health. © 2022 Informa UK Limited.