Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Human Movement Sciences


Curriculum and Instruction -- Physical Education

Committee Director

Justin A. Haegele

Committee Member

Xihe Zhu

Committee Member

Jonna L. Bobzien


Introduction. Individuals with visual impairments, females, and athletes encounter different challenges during physical education. However, little is known about how the challenges connected with each of these identities intersect and if that intersection impacts experiences differently. The purpose of this study was to take an explicitly intersectional approach to understand how identifying as an individual with a visual impairment, a female, and an athlete intersect to influence physical education and sport experiences. Methods. To describe the participants’ intersectional experiences as female athletes with a visual impairment, an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) research approach was implemented. Four female athletes with visual impairments aged 23-28-years old, participated in this study. The study utilized two sources of data: semi-structured, audio-taped, telephone/video call interviews and reflective interview notes. Data were analyzed thematically using a three-step process guided by IPA. Results. From the data collected and analyzed, two connected, major themes were constructed (a) Physical education was ‘just a credit’ and (b) ‘If you enjoy this, we will drive you’. Discussion. The results of this study aligned with prior research (Fitzgerald, 2005; Haegele & Zhu, 2017), by demonstrating the participants did not have meaningful physical education experiences. Interestingly, however, the participants noted that these poor experiences were not critical to them, as they had developed a sense of athletic identity in other, outside of school physical activity opportunities supported by family.


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