(Re)creating a healthy self in and through disability sport: autoethnographic chaos and quest stories from a sportswoman with cerebral palsy

Gemma Lumsdaine, Rhiannon Lord*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Those with physical disabilities are at increased risk of poor physical, mental and social health. Despite widely reported physiological and psychosocial benefits of sport for disabled people’s health and wellbeing, participation remains low and is in decline. Subsequently, we answer calls for greater focus on individuals’ voices to understand the complexities of disabled people’s participation in sport. Through a narrative autoethnographic approach we critically show and examine the lived experiences of a young female sportswoman with a disability (Gemma), as she reflects on the role of sport in, through and beyond her childhood. Framed within Arthur Frank’s narratives of injury and illness, we highlight the sport-based posthumanist narrative(s) that enabled Gemma’s (re)construction of a healthy self. Ultimately, we offer narrative inquiry, including autoethnographic methods, as a framework for understanding the lived experiences of children and young people with physical disabilities and practical recommendations for expanding narrative resources.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalDisability and Society
Early online date13 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Oct 2021

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