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.
About the Author
Michael S. Jeffress (Ph.D., Regent University) is a Lecturer in Communication Studies in the Department of Literary, Cultural and Communication Studies at The University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad. He has been involved in disability advocacy work since the mid-1990s, after his son Ryan was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In 2014, he received the Top Paper Award from the Disability Issues Caucus of the National Communication Association. His previous title in the Interdisciplinary Disability Studies series is Communication, Sport and Disability: The Case of Power Soccer.
The people and stories in this book are simply inspiring. Although I am not in a wheelchair myself, this book gave me an appreciation for those who are and it definitely makes me want to get involved and support programs like power soccer.