Not only has BU research influenced athletes competing in the Paralympics, it has also changed the way that para-athletes are represented in the media. Dr Carrie Hodges and her team influenced Channel 4’s ‘Meet the Superhumans’ campaign and its coverage of the 2012 and now 2016 Paralympics. The award-winning campaign helped to re-shape people’s perceptions of disability.
“We spent 18 months researching attitudes towards disabled people,” explains Dr Hodges, “We looked at people’s everyday experiences in the context of the 2012 Paralympics. We found that one of the greatest causes of stigma surrounding disability is fear. That fear tends to stem from a lack of experience of disability and a lack of authentic stories about disabled people. The Paralympics are a great opportunity to change perceptions of disability and we’re delighted that our research helped to make a difference.”