Exploring Strategies Used to Deliver Physical Activity Experiences to Veterans With a Physical Disability

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Shirazipour, Celina Hove
Aiken, Alice B.
Latimer-Cheung, Amy E.
Impairment , Implementation , Military , Participation , Sport
Purpose: Physical activity is an important method of rehabilitation used to promote positive physical and psychosocial outcomes among military personnel, including Veterans, with a physical disability. However, minimal research has explored physical activity program implementation strategies, particularly how these strategies may foster positive rehabilitation outcomes, and quality participation experiences among Veterans post-injury. The purpose of the current study is to document strategies used to deliver physical activity programs to Veterans with a physical disability. Research methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with program staff from three Veteran physical activity programs, and program documentation was collected. Data were analyzed using a thematic analysis. Results: Four themes were identified representing strategies used for delivering physical activity programming: (1) foster social connections; (2) challenge participants; (3) tailor programs and outcomes to match participant needs; and (4) include knowledgeable coaches/instructors. Conclusions: The study provides researchers and practitioners (e.g., rehabilitation professionals, program facilitators, coaches) with evidence of strategies for delivering physical activity programming for Veterans post-injury, thus assisting with future program development and evaluation. The findings also provide preliminary insight regarding the potential relationships between physical activity programming and elements of quality participation. Implications for Rehabilitation Physical activity is a popular method of rehabilitation for military personnel post-injury. Findings highlight four strategies used to deliver physical activity experiences to Veterans with a physical disability. Strategies highlighted provide insight as to how rehabilitation specialists can promote quality experiences for Veterans with a physical disability during physical activity programming.