Adapted Physical Activity at the Dawn of the 21st Century
During the last 20 years, professionals from different areas of expertise have implemented segregated, parallel, and integrated programs in the field of adapted physical activity (APA). Tremendous increases may be pointed out in the number of sports disciplines and performances, quality of investigations, exchange of information, and teacher training programs. Nevertheless only a small proportion of the population with a disability takes part in sports activities, for many reasons which may include limited access, the role of the media, and socialization factors. At the forefront of the present adapted sports movement is the inclusion of athletes in the Olympic Games. This trend requires closer attention to investigation and particularly to the criteria for recognition of an integrative sports event, such as autonomy, ability, and minimal disability. At the present time most scientific work has been done on elite sports for wheelchair users and amputees participating in adapted physical activities, but many issues still need to be investigated: the impact of training, the aging process, APA and misunderstood disabilities, future technology, and doping, among others. Among these fields, some involve the continued expansion of high-level competition, and others refer to the most adequate adapted sports disciplines. Elements that will certainly influence the future of APA include cultural elements in sport programs developed in Asia, Africa, and South America; the relationship between Olympic and Paralympic movements and criteria for the inclusion of athletes; sports relative to nature; and the participation of women athletes. But first of all, the prerequisite for progress is cooperation between administrative structures, authorities, scientists, and experts in order to increase the quality of research in the field of APA for the benefit of people with a disability.
KeywordsPhysical Activity Olympic Game Disable Person Disable Individual Teacher Training Program
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