An exploration of the organisational stressors encountered by international disability footballers

Jon Whittingham, Jamie B. Barker, Matthew J. Slater, Rachel Arnold

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Presently, disability athletes remain under-represented in organisational stressor research. Our study sought to bring novel insights to this area by determining the organisational stressors experienced by international disability footballers. Twelve current international disability footballers (10 male, 2 female) from a range of UK impairment squads took part in the study. Semi-structured interviews were completed with each participant, and data were analysed by content analysis procedures. Organisational stressors data were abstracted into Arnold, Wagstaff, Steadman and Pratt’s (2017) concepts, and Arnold and Fletcher’s (2012) four general dimensions: leadership and personnel issues, cultural and team issues, logistical and environmental issues, and performance and personal issues, revealing a series of football-specific nuances. Our study is the first exploration of the prevalence of organisational stressors within international disability football. Our study also provides practitioners with an understanding of the common and unique organisational stressors faced by international disability footballers. Finally, we suggest a series of practical recommendations for policy development within disability football organisations to aid athletes to effective manage organisational stressors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-247
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number3
Early online date2 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020


  • Elite
  • para-athletes
  • paralympic
  • performance
  • soccer
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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