Introduction: The aim of this paper is to present the views of paralympic competitors on the causes of the alienation of Polish paralympic sport from the sporting community of healthy persons between 1972 and 2006.
Material and methods: This survey, prepared by means of diagnostic questionnaire method, was addressed to 435 competitors with locomotion or vision impaired, permanently residing in Poland and who participated in the Summer and Winter Paralympics between 1972 and 2006. Three groups of the surveyed subjects were created: Group One - 135 persons (1972-1988), Two - 94 (1992-1998), Three - 206 (2000-2006).
Results: The analysis of the data allows to say that the main causes of the separation of paralympic sport from the sporting community of healthy persons were attributed, first of all, to lack of information and promotion in the mass media. They also saw the difference in the way they were treated in comparison with able-bodied competitors and lack of appreciation by the healthy people who were supposed to work for the development of sport. According to the subjects, there was no integration among able-bodied athletes and disabled competitors themselves in Polish sport, which made it impossible for the paralympians to take part in common training sessions, training camps, and sporting events. The organisational structure in Poland has led to the isolation of the sport for disabled persons because it involved a closed circle of athletes associated with sports clubs, where only disabled persons trained. It should be mentioned that those causes were brought about by government and non-governmental institutions, the sporting community itself and social attitudes towards the sports practised by the disabled.
Conclusions: Despite the socio-economic transformation underway in Poland, the athletes had to cope with some recurring problems in the consecutive years of the paralympic games, which did not allow them to benefit from the changes that should have brought them closer to able-bodied athletes. Following the opinions voiced by the surveyed subjects, the government and non-governmental institutions have taken significant steps to eliminate the causes of the exclusion of Polish paralympic athletes from the sporting community. However, no such activities have been undertaken to eliminate the causes existing in the sporting community itself and in social attitudes.