This study aims to investigate how physically licensed disabled athletes who participate in team and individual sports view metaphors regarding disabled athletes to determine the acceptance of disability. This study used a mixed model. The study group in this research is made up of licensed athletes who participate in sports with the Turkish Sports Federation for the Physically Disabled. 618 athletes took part in the quantitative phase of the study, while 105 athletes participated in the qualitative phase. The study used a semi-structured interview form to acquire qualitative data and the "Disability Acceptance Scale" to collect quantitative data. Content Analysis were used to analyze qualitative data, while the Spearman Correlation Coefficient and Mann-Whitney U test were used to analyze quantitative data. The participants described the concept of "disabled athletes" with images of being a fighter, flaw-evoking, and of guidance, worth, power, and equality, according to the qualitative findings of the study. There was no significant difference in disability acceptance levels between team and individual branch athletes in the study. The age of the athletes had a negative and insignificant link with the total score of limitation and acceptance of disability. Furthermore, it was discovered that athletes with a non-congenital disability had significantly greater total scores of restriction, and acceptance of disability than athletes with a congenital disability. Although the results suggested that the participants' views on the concept of disabled athletes were generally positive, it was also discovered that many had negative sentiments. It was deduced from these negative opinions that not all the disabled athletes had completed the process of disability acceptance and were in need of the services of a sports psychologist and rehabilitation. Furthermore, the participants' disability acceptance level was moderate, participating in team or individual branches had no effect on the disability acceptance level, the disability acceptance level decreased with age, and those with congenital disabilities had a greater disability acceptance level. In this context, it is proposed that sports psychologists assist athletes with physical limitations, both acquired and congenital, in accepting their disability, which is believed to have an impact on everything from athlete’s performance to environmental relations.
sports, athlete, disabled athlete, physically disabled athlete, disability acceptance