Former Star Athlete Researches Sports and Special Needs

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BRANDON, MB – A student at Brandon University (BU) is undertaking a year-long study to investigate the effects of school sports on special needs students.

Raisa Rybinski. Faculty of Education graduate, 2013 (web)Raisa Rybinski, in her second year of BU’s Master of Education degree, has been awarded a $17,500 federal grant to assist her research project, entitled Sports Inclusion and Special Education.

“Physical activity is key to living a long and healthy life,” says Rybinski, a former award-winning basketball player with the BU Bobcats. “Children and youth who are active in sports are healthier, more engaged, and achieve more in school and life. My research will focus on how children with learning disabilities involved in school sports compare to those who are not involved, in terms of inclusion in the community, friendships, social skills, academic ability, effort, and achievement. Additionally, I hope to include in my research recommended ways in which families, schools, and communities can promote and support active living for children with and without learning disabilities.”

Raisa Rybinski with BU Bobcats in 2012
Raisa Rybinski with BU Bobcats in 2012

Rybinski is receiving funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master’s Program, which provides financial support to high-caliber students engaged in graduate studies.

BU’s Associate Dean of Education, Dr. Jacqueline Kirk, says that Rybinski will bring remarkable personal insight to the research. “Raisa is a student athlete and she works with her family in the operation of a care home for individuals with special needs, so she has a depth and passion for this study that would be hard to match. She is the right person to do this research.”

Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.



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