Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

Jasmine Townsend

Committee Member

Cedomir Stanojevic

Committee Member

Christy Brown

Committee Member

Ramon Zabriskie


Experiences are the impressions developed through gaining, using, fostering, and sometimes disposing of a service or product. Recent years have shown an ongoing emphasis placed on experiences and their impacts; one of particular interest for this study are the experiences of para-collegiate student-athletes. Using the Experience Type Framework (ETF) and the Extraordinary Impact Scale (EIS), the purpose of this study was to understand the experience of involvement in intercollegiate sports among adaptive student-athletes. This study employed an explanatory sequential mixed methods design, using quantitative and qualitative data to understand the adaptive student-athlete experience. Phase I (n = 30) used the EIS to measure the impact of para-collegiate sports experiences, while Phase II used semi-structured interviews (n = 11) to identify characteristics of para-collegiate sports experiences. Findings from Phase I indicated that para-collegiate sports presented as highly impactful (23% Meaningful and 77% Transformative), and in Phase II, three overall themes emerged, one for each experience type: (1) importance of the disability community and development of life-long friendships (memorable), (2) holistic growth on and off the court for (meaningful), and (3) sense of purpose and self (transformative). An additional, study aimed to empirically test and establish the initial psychometric properties of the EIS. The ten items on the EIS meet the requirements of the Guttman scale, and provide evidence that it is unidimensional, and cumulative. Findings suggest the EIS Guttman version is effective in measuring the impacts of para-collegiate sports experiences.

Author ORCID Identifier




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