Posted: Fri, 09 Aug 2019 15:30

#WhoSays: "Athletes with a disability don't train as hard as other athletes?"

A new exciting campaign from Activity Alliance is calling time on negative perceptions about disability, inclusion and sport and asks – who says?

For far too long disabled people have faced misconceptions and presumptions on what is and isn't possible, including in sport. Leading national charity, Activity Alliance, wants to move the conversations on, open people's minds and shift out-dated views on disability. Who says? gives positive evidence that replaces these negative ideas.

Launched last month, who says? was created in response to the charity's recent research, which explored non-disabled people's attitudes on inclusive activity. The findings show a lack of understanding could be causing long-lasting barriers for disabled people, leading to inactivity. For the least active audience in our country, people's attitudes can make or break activity experiences.

Who says we can't break down barriers?

In reality, disabled people have countless personal experiences that lead to marginalisation, low confidence and inactivity.

Who says? empowers people, on and off the field of play, to challenge their own and others' perceptions. But, here are some facts that need serious consideration:

  • Disabled people are twice as likely to be physically inactive as non-disabled people. Although we saw an increase recently, the number of active disabled people remains resistant to growth.
  • The main barriers to being active are psychological, logistical and physical, with psychological the most influential. This is, disabled people's personal impression of sport and non-disabled people's attitudes about disabled people playing sport.
  • Two thirds (64 per cent) of disabled people would prefer to take part in sport with both disabled and non-disabled people, currently only half (51 per cent) are doing so.
  • Research shows almost half of disabled people fear losing their benefits if they are seen to be physically active.
  • Only 14 per cent of non-disabled people are aware of having previously taken part in sport with disabled people. But three quarters (73%) of non-disabled people were open to the idea.

Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport spoke to previous GO GOLD Tennis Special Olympian, Matthew Chilvers to find out why their are these misconceptions of disability sport and how sport can be really beneficial to someone with a disability.

"I get so much out of sport. It is a great way to improve my health and fitness while having great fun at the same time. I have made many good friends from playing sport and it helps me to develop my social and communication skills; gives me confidence and the chance to speak to a wide variety of people."

Before the Paralympics, athletes that had a disability had very little media coverage so people thought that if a person had a disability, they were not competitive in sport. But now athletes with a disability have a higher profile in the media and are receiving more respect and acceptance.

Athletes who have a disability train just as hard as any other athletes, are just as competitive and have the same will to win. I recommend watching disability sport and your negative perception will soon change to a positive one."

Who says you can't be part of the movement?

The first campaign phase will run for six weeks over summer. Whilst the who says? movement begins, we are calling for you to get involved in the campaign by posting your own experiences using #WhoSays. Share our films and make your own to add your voice to the campaign.

Tell us your who says? You could be a disabled person who has challenged someone's attitude whilst being active. Your organisation wants to share positive stories. Or your company plans to use the campaign to release new funding focused on inclusion.

Find out more

#WhoSays: "Athletes with a disability don't train as hard as other athletes?"

Tags: News, Featured, Disability Sport


    Leicestershire County Council
    Active Partnerships
    Charnwood LSA
    Sport England
  • Equality Standard
    H&B LSA
    Active Leicester
    Blaby LSA
    Active Rutland
  • Safeguarding
    O&W LSA
    Harborough LSA
    Melton LSA


  • Harborough LSA
    Sport England
  • Blaby LSA
    Active Rutland
  • Active Partnerships
    Active Leicester
  • Leicestershire County Council
    Equality Standard
  • Melton LSA
    H&B LSA
  • O&W LSA
  • Charnwood LSA