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Sport & Exercise

Three studies were conducted to examine quality of physical activity participation among military Veterans with a physical disability. The first study explored views of Veterans with a physical disability regarding quality physical activity experiences. Four quality elements were identified (group cohesion, challenge, having a role, and independence and choice), as well as three conditions that are important for supporting a quality experience (the physical and social environment, and program structure). The second study explored how physical activity programs for Veterans with a disability are delivered. Four program strategies were identified, which can be linked to conceptualizations of quality participation: foster social connections, challenge participants, tailor programs and outcomes to participant needs, and include knowledgeable coaches and instructors. The third study examined the participation of Veterans with functional impairments in physical activity events. Results suggested that when coaches create quality participation experiences, particularly through fostering belongingness, there may be a positive impact on the transition to civilian life and ongoing physical activity participation. The findings provide an initial understanding of how to create, deliver, and promote quality physical activity experiences for Veterans post-injury.