Enhancing the Full Potential of Persons with Disabilities through Sports in the 21st Century
As early as 460 BC, Hippocrates, the famous Greek Physician and Father of Medicine acknowledged the importance of exercise for strengthening the body, enhancing recovery from diseases, and for prevention and care of mental problems. Indeed, according to the available literature, regular physical activity has been variously said to prevent osteoporosis, heart problems, type II diabetes mellitus, lower back ache, migraine headaches, among many other infirmities. Sports also liberate and enhance character development. These benefits of sports and exercise to the community must be enjoyed by people with and without disabilities without favor or discrimination. Similarly, a lot has so far been achieved on enhancing the full potential of people with disabilities through sports in Kenya and elsewhere in the world, both historically and in contemporary days. For instance, Pierre de Coubertin’s effort in reviving the Modern Olympics in 1896 emanated from his strong desire to transform the French population into a formidable, cohesive nation; a desire that he later extended to the rest of the world. de Coubertin’s modern Olympics desire of enhancing people’s capacity through sports has today led to the Paralympics movement which ensures among other things that, persons with disabilities are not marginalized in the local and global society. It is in line with this background that Kenya has made a tremendous effort in ensuring a full involvement of the persons with disabilities in sports for the aforementioned benefits. This paper illustrates the efforts that have been made in Kenya today toward enhancing the life of persons with disability via sports programs both within the educational institutions and within the community at large.