Sports Therapy student increasing participation for the visually impaired

Jamie Defoe – Sports Therapy (2017-20)

A Sports Therapy student has begun a summer internship which is aiming to increase participation in sport for those with visual impairments. 

Jamie Defoe has just finished the second year of the BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy course but instead of using the summer for a well-earned rest he will be supporting UCLan academic staff as part of the UCLan Undergraduate Research Internship Programme. 

It is estimated that over 2 million people in the UK live with sight loss and blindness and, by 2050, this figure is expected to reach approximately 4 million, primarily due to an ageing population.  Whilst some PwVI live active, rewarding and independent lives, others have a poor quality of life and experience reduced functional status and wellbeing.  Both school age children and adults with visual impairment engage in significantly less physical activity than their sighted peers.

Jamie, who is the Chair of the UCLan Basketball club, explained: “I’ll be helping to develop the most comprehensive database of provision for people with visual impairment to date.  


The project will also form the foundation of future work aiming to develop a website and associated app to provide PwVI current information on sport and physical activity provision in their local area.  This should help to increase participation rates in sport and physical activity in this population group.

“This work will also be submitted in a co-authored research article to British Journal of Visual Impairment or Disability and Society, as well as an abstract to present research findings at the British Conference of Undergraduate research 2020.”

The UCLan Undergraduate Research Internship Programme is an 8-week programme, which runs full-time over the summer months each year.  The research internships provides students with an opportunity to experience working on an 'authentic research' project alongside members of academic staff that lead to real research outcomes. 

Student interns gain a range of new academic and personal skills whilst observing how world-class research is conducted.  Since its launch in 2008, over 430 interns who have worked directly with researchers on projects as diverse as digital publishing, wind power, facial composites, and business triangles.  All interns on the programme are a paid the national living wage.

21 August 2019