Dr. Laura Misener discusses Paralympic sport’s social impact

September 23, 2017

Dr. Laura Misener of Western University in London, Ont., was Saturday’s keynote speaker at the VISTA 2017 Conference, taking place today  at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre and Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, in Toronto.. Her presentation was titled: The Paralympic Games and Social Impact: Beyond the Rhetoric.

Dr. Misener talks with VISTA 2017 delegates prior to her keynote presentation

The societal content was a change of pace from the conference’s primary focus - the science and technology of Paralympic sport.

The eighth VISTA conference gathered sports scientists and researchers from around the world in Ontario’s capital this week to provide a forum for exchange on current information, expertise on Paralympic sport and the Paralympic Movement.

Misener discussed how Para sport focuses on the barriers to participation rather than considering how we can negotiate constraints in social and infrastructural context to improve opportunities, spaces, and places for participation.

‘’We need to frame the discussion about barriers in a positive manner,’’ she said to the record 300 plus attendees from 41 countries at the conference. ‘’There are different approaches we can take.’’

Misener focused her presentation on the potential for broader social impacts of the Paralympic Games, wherein community and individual level strategies are aimed at increasing access for all. 

‘’We are moving in the right direction with our impact,’’ she concluded.

Today (Sat. Sept. 23) is the fourth and final day of the VISTA 2017 Conference.