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November 9, 2012
English Federation of Disability Sport recently conducted a survey to capture the public perception on the wider legacy and impact on disabled people in sport. Findings highlighted both disabled and non-disabled people want to watch more sport for disabled people. It also identified disabled people's desire to play more sport.
The survey, which ran from 10 September until 30 September, asked respondents a range of questions on both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In addition, the charity measured the level of awareness and people's perceptions of a small scale Pass the Baton campaign conducted by EFDS before, during and after the Paralympic Games. Over five hundred disabled and non-disabled people answered the survey. It found that the London 2012 Games, in particular the Paralympics, had a significant impact on people's perceptions and attitude toward disabled people in sport.
Both Games raised awareness of the wide range of opportunities available for disabled people in sport. It also had a positive impact on non-disabled people's perceptions of disabled people in general, any disabled person playing sport as well as elite disabled athletes. The wider impact in sport meant it has encouraged people to look beyond the impairment and see the capabilities of disabled people in sport.
Out of the respondents, 95% watched both Games and 96% watched the Paralympics. After watching the Games four out of ten respondents chose 'Paralympians are inspirational role models too' as the main message, selected at least twice as often as any of the other messages.
Of the 500 people who watched the Paralympics, nine out of ten disabled people said they had considered watching disabled people in sport previously. However, the impact of the Paralympics on non-disabled people was significant with eight out of ten now interested in watching disabled people in sport (compared to seven out of ten before the Paralympics).
Response to EFDS's promotional campaign was very positive. Three out of ten respondents were aware of the 'Pass the Baton' campaign, increasing to four out of ten among disabled people. Almost nine out of ten respondents (88%) had a positive reaction to the campaign. People felt that the main limitation of the campaign was its limited exposure.