It is always disturbing to learn of the occurrence of abuse in sport. Abuse can come in many forms: sexual, physical, and emotional. Coaches, teachers, instructors, staff, volunteers, medical personnel, fellow athletes and others who have access may perpetrate an abuse. Youth especially need protection, since they are a particularly vulnerable population. Consequentially, abuse is damaging. So how can we prevent abuse in sports?
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended to avoid travel or competition with persons outside of a particular locality. While travel guidance during COVID-19 continues to evolve, be sure to check out the CDC's latest updates on travel recommendations before scheduling a trip. Additionally, if athletes do travel outside of their local community, they should consider the following:
Many sports organizations are revising or writing a policy for if or how transgender persons may participate in sport. In writing a transgender policy for sport, the primary concern is for fairness. If a biological male competes as a female that person may have an unfair competitive advantage due to higher testosterone levels that contribute to greater strength and lower body mass. Out of concern for fairness, many sports policies require transwomen (MTF – male to female) to jump through more hoops than transmen (FTM – female to male) in order to compete as a female.
There are multiple things to consider when drafting a policy for transgender participation.
Growing up did your family have a plan in case of emergencies? As a kid if an emergency prevented my parents from picking me up from my sports practice, they would ask a trusted adult to communicate our family password when he or she came to get me. That password let me know that it was safe and that my parents wanted me to get in the car with that person. As an adult now, my family has a reunification meeting strategy. Should a fire or other natural disaster prevent us from reuniting at our home, we have designated meeting locations to find each other. These simple planned strategies for emergencies can help keep our families safe. Emergency action plans for your sports organization are just as important.
Risk management is important because every sports organization will face risks. Risks can be viewed as potential hazards that may cause harm to a person or to property. Any harm that is incurred in connection to a sport and recreation organization may expose that organization to litigation, bad publicity, or financial or criminal sanctions. Risk management is making a decision on what to do about the risks that your organization faces. If you successfully control your risks through risk management, there can be some advantages to your organization.