Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Interdisciplinary Health Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Wall Emerson

Second Advisor

Dr. Amy Curtis

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul Ponchillia


sports, physical education, blind children


This three-paper format dissertation explores three topics relevant to participating in a short-term model Sports Education Camp for youth with vision impairments. The three papers are independent studies, yet build upon each other by first measuring physical performance in certain skills, then exploring their levels of self-perception, body mass index, and level of physical activity in their local communities, and finally describing the population of participants at various points over a 25-year period. Papers one and two examined differences in pre- and post-camp measures for first-time and repeat participants, with the first paper focusing on physical performance, and the second paper looking at self-perception, level of physical activity in participant’s local communities, and body mass index. Papers one and two also compared the state with the largest number of participants to the total number of participants from all other states. Paper three provides an examination of selected characteristics of those who attended various Sports Education Camps for the first time compared to those who repeated attendance, and also made comparisons of the 12 states where data were available. Results from the first study indicate that first-time attendees demonstrated significant improvement between pre- and post-camp measures of physical performance in three of the four skills being measured (over and under arm throw, and standing long jump). The second study revealed similar results for first-time attendees, who demonstrated significant growth in their positive attitudes of themselves between pre- and post-camp measures in three out of four areas of self-perception (“I love sports,” “I am better at sports than most kids my age,” and “I consider myself a good athlete”). Results from the third paper indicate that participants of Sports Education Camps are representative of national datasets for gender and level of vision in that the majority were males with low vision. The level of Caucasian participants attending Sports Education Camps in this study, however, was overrepresented in our sample. Implications of the effectiveness of the Sports Education Camp model for teaching basic body mechanics and sports skills in increasing physical performance and self-perception of students with vision impairments are discussed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access