Module 4: Para sport and media

In this module we will explore and discuss the evolution of what is variously called para sport or adaptive sports—sports that have been adapted to enable individuals with physical challenges such as missing limbs, paralysis and vision impairment to compete at a very high level. (This is not to be confused with the Special Olympics, an American competition for athletes with intellectual challenges.) The 2012 Paralympics in London made para sports a good deal more mainstream in the UK than in the US, so we are going to focus on what that means and how para athletes and their stories have become some of the most intriguing and inspiring influencers in sports. The module will culminate with attending para sport events at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and speaking with athletes and coaches there.
In this module students will...
Be introduced to quasi-experimental methods
Learn about the history of adaptive sport competition
Consider theoretical approaches to portraying and marketing adaptive sports
Interview individuals engaged in adaptive sport competition
Envision future opportunities for adaptive sport athletes
Module 4
8
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Day
Date
Module
Class plans
Readings and assigment (due 11:59pm)
1
Sunday
7/24/2022
4: Para sport and media
#12askstef
2
Monday
7/25/2022
4: Para sport and media
Zoom conversation with Stef Reid, recently-retired Paralympian turned broadcaster
#12experiment
3
Tuesday
7/26/2022
4: Para sport and media
Adaptive/para sports, supercrips, and research
#13murderball
4
Wednesday
7/27/2022
4: Para sport and media
Murderball, games, and social influencing
5
Sunday
7/31/2022
4: Para sport and media
#14legacy
6
Monday
8/1/2022
4: Para sport and media
Social marketing and sports; sporting events and legacy
#15influencer
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Sunday July 25
#12askstef
Stefanie Reid is a recently-retired Paralympian who is becoming a broadcaster. We’ll talk with her about her own experiences as a Paralympic athlete as well as the landscape she sees for para sport both in the UK and the US. You can find more information about her on and especially on . We will have a Zoom conversation with her in class on Monday, July 25.
Please write two questions you’d like to ask Stef about adaptive sport and her career on .
Monday, July 25
Class: Day 13
Introduction to parasport
Zoom conversation with Stef Reid (see above)
#12experiment
Readings:
Suggs and Guthrie
Suggs_Guthrie.pdf
451.7 kB
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Assignment:
. It should take 5-10 minutes.
In the #12experiment channel, post a screenshot of the final page of the survey.
Read this article by Ronald Berger:
Tuesday, July 26
Class: Day 14
The “supercrip” critique
Discussion of research methods
Ethics and research
#13murderball
Watch:
(you may need to register an account with Kanopy using your account)

Assignment:
In the #13murderball account, write a short post considering two things:
What are the two or three key frames the filmmakers use to introduce quad rugby and the athletes in the film?
In class we’ve talked about framing para athletes as inspiring viewers to see all people with disabilities as more worthy of attention versus seeing them as “supercrips” who imply that all people with disabilities can be successful if only they try harder.
Wednesday, July 27
Class: Day 15
Murderball analysis
Paralympics and Commonwealth Games
Athletes and social influence
Sunday, July 31
#14legacy
Readings:
News articles about Paralympic legacy
News articles.pdf
374.6 kB
Brittain
Brittain backgrounder.pdf
360.1 kB
Assignment:
Consider the Brittain article and at least two of the articles in the news media packet. What did Brittain and the authors you chose believe to be the most important frames in understanding what the “legacy” is of the Paralympic Games? Is it supposed to be lasting economic benefit for the UK and London? Improved profiles for athletes and para sport in general? Greater well-being for people with disabilities in general? Or something else? In the #15legacy channel, write a short post comparing the authors you chose and what they chose to emphasize, and how that matches up to what you believe legacy to be.
Monday, August 1
Class: Day 16
Social marketing and sports
#15influencer
Readings:
Brown
paralympic marketing.pdf
195.7 kB
Burton, Naraine and Scott
Burton on digital sponsorship strategy.pdf
1.7 MB
Assignment:
Find three adaptive-sports athletes on social media (Twitter, Instagram, TikTok) and look over their feeds for the past couple of weeks. Do the same for three able-bodied athletes in the same sports. (Athletes can be from any country). What similarities and differences do you notice in what they post and how they style/contextualize what they post? What is due to disability and what is due to the athletes’ personal approaches? Does their strategy with sponsors resonate with what you read from the articles above? Of the six, which athletes’ messages/posts resonate the most with you? Write a short post with links to all six athletes in #14influencer.

Thursday, August 4
Commonwealth Games excursion

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