Sports are ubiquitous in American society, and given their prominence in the culture, it is easy to understand how most youth in the United States face pressure to participate in organized sports. But what does this mean for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who live with one or more physical disabilities and, in particular, those in powered wheelchairs? Located at the intersection of sports and disability, this book tells the story of power soccer - the first competitive team sport specifically designed for electric wheelchair users. Beginning in France in the 1970s, today, over sixty teams compete within the United States Power Soccer Association (USPSA) and the sport is actively played in over thirty countries. Using ethnographic research conducted while attending practices, games, and social functions of teams from across the nation, Jeffress builds a strong case that electric wheelchair users deserve more opportunity to play sports. They deserve it because they need the same physical and psychosocial benefits from participation as their peers, who have full use of their arms and legs. It challenges the social constructions and barriers that currently stand in the way. Most importantly, this book tells the story of some amazing power soccer athletes. It is a moving, first-hand account of what power soccer means to them and the implications this has for society.
"I recommend Communication, Sport and Disability for disability scholars as well as anyone interested in the development of disability sport in America. Jeffress has written a book that is very clear and readable which touches on a unique subject matter from a perspective - that of power wheelchair athletes - not often represented in the disability sport literature."
- Shauna Cappe, Disability and Sport, Vol 31, Issue 7, 2016
"Using language based on grounded theory, the author effectively meets his goal of empowering the voices of his research participants. What makes this book especially interesting is that the author is part of the community on which he writes…The book is an excellent read for parents or family members of persons with disabilities. Although it is based on a strong qualitative research design and efforts to ensure academic rigor, Jeffress has taken an approach in his writing that makes the book readable for all audiences."
- Laurie A. Malone, UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative, and J.P. Barfield, Radford University, Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 2016,
Disability studies has made great strides in exploring power and the body. This series extends the interdisciplinary dialogue between disability studies and other fields by asking how disability studies can influence a particular field. It will show how a deep engagement with disability studies changes our understanding of the following fields: sociology, literary studies, gender studies, bioethics, social work, law, education, or history. This ground-breaking series identifies both the practical and theoretical implications of such an interdisciplinary dialogue and challenges people in disability studies as well as other disciplinary fields to critically reflect on their professional praxis in terms of theory, practice, and methods.
Series editor: Mark Sherry, The University of Toledo, USA