Importance of collaborative networks and healthy routines for sport projects for people with disabilities
Conceived in 2013 by the Department of Physical Education (DEF) of the Federal University of Sergipe (UFS), the Sergipe Paralympic Project (PPdSE) has the mission of developing sports activities for people with disabilities (PwD) in the state of Sergipe through multidisciplinary work by students and teachers of physical education, medicine, speech therapy, nutrition, psychology and physiotherapy courses.
The strategy used to strengthen this group was the creation of a support network, which made it possible to exchange information, experiences, orientations and provide advice and clarifications in a multidisciplinary way. This allowed for all to collectively discuss actions in different areas and to give different perspectives on issues faced.
This support network contributes to the implementation of good practices in combating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The main challenge faced by the PPdSE in this period of quarantine and social detachment was to promote the maintenance of the social well-being of the PwD participating in the project.
Thus, the Healthy Routine Challenge Program (PDRS) was created, which structured in weekly activities, aiming to improve the routine of the participating students. For this program, we partnered with the Academic Sports, Paradesport and Trauma-Orthopedic League (LADEPTO), the Laboratory of Studies in Nutrition and Exercise (LENEx) and the Academic League in Health Psychology (LAPS).
The PDRS was carried out from 25 May to 7 November 2020. 11 students were able to participate in the program and interact with a team of seven fellows, who came from various backgrounds like physical education, medicine, speech therapy and physical therapy. The program was conducted with the students using a messaging application, video calls and sending images and audio messages. At the end of 4 weeks, participating students gave feedback regarding the activities, including any doubts, concerns and clarifications they had.
This communication channel made it possible for participating students to share their experiences with the project team, to exchange experiences between the students and the work team, so that we could develop and modify the program to meet their real needs and interests. This feedback loop facilitated the establishment of a more dynamic program, focused on the following areas:
- Physical education: maintaining participants’ healthy lifestyle through physical and strengthening exercises and stretching. This also allowed to keep participants’ anxiety and stress levels under control
- Physiotherapy: monitoring participants to prevent injuries caused by not exercising, and helping athletes return to sport practice
- Speech therapy: engaging in effective communication with other people by different means
- Medicine: guiding participants, through tips and lectures, on personal care, chronic illnesses and accidents, and showing how changes in lifestyle can be an effective means of controlling diseases
- Nutrition: guiding participants in regulating their eating behaviors and food consumption habits
The collaborative nature of this project has enabled the development of good practices for engaging with PwDs and enabled us to achieve better results in not only the sporting aspects of the participants’ lives, but also in the personal aspects, including quality of life. We, thus, emphasize the expansion of such multidisciplinary work, and also the constant monitoring of sport programs and projects for PwDs.
Marcelo de Castro Haiachi is part of the Department of Physica Education at the Federal University of Sergipe. He is also part of the Research Group on Olympic and Paralympic Studies, and the Research Centre of Public Policies for Physical Education, Sports, Leisure and Adapted Sports in the state of Sergipe.
João Pedro Bonaparte Tavares is part of the Department of Physica Education at the Federal University of Sergipe and the Research Group on Olympic and Paralympic Studies.
Tamires Nunes dos Santos is part of the Department of Physica Education at the Federal University of Sergipe and the Research Group on Olympic and Paralympic Studies.
Augusto Cesar Alves dos Santos is part of the Department of Physica Education at the Federal University of Sergipe and the Research Group on Olympic and Paralympic Studies.
Ailton Fernando Santana de Oliveira is part of the Department of Physica Education at the Federal University of Sergipe. He is also part of the Research Group on Olympic and Paralympic Studies, and the Research Centre of Public Policies for Physical Education, Sports, Leisure and Adapted Sports in the state of Sergipe.
[This article has been edited by the Operating Team.]