Exploring harm and the effectiveness of safeguarding in para sport

Women's wheelchair basketball at Rollers & Gliders World Challenge. (Wikimedia Commons)

Conversations about safe sport and the treatment of athletes in Canada have been widespread during the past several months.

While these conversations are necessary, Western University researchers say they’ve largely missed the challenges of an entire group of athletes – those involved in para sport.

Karmen Mohindru is a graduate student in Kinesiology working alongside professor P. David Howe to launch a study looking at harm and protections in place in para sport.

“We know that safe sport is a concern in para sport and that historically, athlete safeguarding policies and procedures are lacking,” says Mohindru.

She points to previous research that suggests athletes who experience a disability are four times more likely to experience harm than others.

“Ultimately, my goal is to facilitate productive conversations with athletes in order to address these gaps in research so organizations can move beyond simply establishing safeguarding policies, toward ensuring their successful implementation and promoting safer sport environments.”

For the study, Mohindru and Howe will be conducting interviews with para sport athletes from across Canada to learn about their experiences as athletes.

They are recruiting current and retired English-speaking para sport athletes over the age of 18.

Anyone interested in participating in the study can reach out directly to Mohindru or Howe.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zadorsky, Media Relations Officer, Western University, 226.377.1673 (mobile), jzadorsk@uwo.ca.