The AusPlay Survey (AusPlay) is a large scale national population tracking survey funded and led by the Australian Sports Commission that tracks Australian sport and physical recreation participation behaviours to help inform investment, policy and sport delivery. Updated data is released every six months (April and October).
AusPlay includes data on the sport and/or physical activity participation of adults (over 18 years of age) who identify as having a disability or physical condition that restricts their life in some way. Data on children under the age of 18 years is not currently collected.
The most recent results [April 2021] show that 53.2 per cent (%) of adults who have a disability or physical condition that resticts life in some way participate at least 3 times per week in sport and/or physical activity (organised or non-organised). This is significantly lower than the participation rate of adults who do not have a disability, 65.3% participating 3 times per week. 21.5% of adults who have a disability do not participate in any sport or physical activity (compared to 8.7% of adults without disability).
- 69.9% of women (over 18 years) participate at least 1x per week (compared to 85.4% of other Australian women) and 55.1% 3x per week (compared to 68.1%). 21.1% do not participate in any sport or physical activity (compared to 8.2%).
- 68.4% of men (over 18 years) participate at least 1x per week (compared to 91.1% of other Australian men) and 51.2% 3x per week (compared to 62.5%). 22% do not participate in any sport or physical activity (compared to 9.1%).
Barriers to participation
- Enabling inclusive sport participation: Effects of disability and support needs on constraints to sport participation, Darcy S, Lock D and Taylor T, Leisure Sciences, Volume 39, Issue 1 (2017). Despite enabling legislation, studies in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States have found that persons with disability participate in sport at lower rates than the general population. This paper presents the results of a national study examining the constraints to sport participation for people with disability. Liaising with over 100 disability organisations from across Australia; a total of 1046 surveys were completed – 53% from persons with disability and 47% from family/friends. Respondents engaged in 125 different sport and active recreation activities; with 50% of participation from organised sports, 32% from unorganised and 18% from partially organised activities. The findings showed that disability type and level of support needs explain significant variations in constraints to participation. The level of support needs was the most significant indicator of the likelihood of participation or non-participation.
- Perceived barriers and facilitators to participation in physical activity for children with disability: a qualitative study, Nora Shields & Anneliese Synnot, BMC Pediatrics, (published online 19 January 2016). Children with disability engage in less physical activity compared to their typically developing peers. The aim of this research was to explore the barriers and facilitators to participation in physical activity for this group. Four themes were identified: (1) similarities and differences, (2) people make the difference, (3) one size does not fit all, and (4) communication and connections. Children with disability were thought to face additional barriers to participation compared to children with typical development including a lack of instructor skills and unwillingness to be inclusive, negative societal attitudes towards disability, and a lack of local opportunities.
- Participation and non-participation of people with disability in sport and active recreation, Australian Sports Commission/University of Technology, Sydney (2011). This report presents the findings of a collaborative research project that used a combination of surveys and focus group interactions to collect data. The study looked at perceptions of health, fitness, and general wellbeing benefits received through sports participation. Disability groups included persons having physical, sensory, intellectual, psychiatric, and health related disabilities. A number of key findings from this research are presented in the report.
- Barriers to and facilitators of sports participation for people with physical disabilities: A systematic review, Jaarsma E, Dijkstra P, Geertzen J and Dekker R, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sport, Volume 24, Issue 6 (2014). Too few people with physical disabilities regularly participate in sports. Therefore, understanding what presents a barrier to participation, as well as what factors facilitate participation, should be helpful to program planners. This study provides an overview of the literature focusing on barriers to, and facilitators of, sports participation for people with various physical disabilities. The most common barrier was health status (personal factor); and lack of facilities, transportation, accessibility of facilities (environmental factors). Facilitating factors were fun, improved health and social contacts. Experiencing barriers to, and facilitators of, sports participation was dependent on age and type of disability. Regular sports participation was greatest when the selection of the sport was appropriate.
- Overcoming barriers to participation, British Blind Sport (2015). Sport and recreational activities can enhance the lives of people with visual impairments by improving their health and increasing social interaction. British Blind Sport conducted a survey to understand how blind and partially sighted people overcome barriers to participation in sport, and to understand the motivations of visually impaired people for taking up sport. Telephone interviews and focus groups were used to collect data. This report identifies a number of motivations as well as barriers. Practical solutions are offered to help visually impaired persons, and organisations providing services to them, overcome the barriers. Case studies are also provided.