Safe4Athletes

GARDEN GROVE, California, September 14. THE USA Swimming House of Delegates met today as part of the United States Aquatic Sports Convention being held in Garden Grove this weekend. While several more technical rules were being voted on, the most high-profile proposals involved the Safe Sport program. 

R-10, R-12, R-13 and R-14 all focused on strengthening the rulebook when it comes to protecting children from rogue members who may look to prey on them, and closing some other loopholes to be found in the Safe Sport rules 

R-12 proposed, for the second year in a row, that consensual adult relationships between coaches and athletes be banned from the sport, where coaches have direct control over the athlete. Not only is this standard regarding sexual harassment laws throughout the country, it also is required by the United States Olympic Committee. This item was previously voted down by the House of Delegates, but passed today with zero discussion. 

If this item had not been passed, it would have led to a showdown with the USOC regarding high performance funding as well as potential issues with USA Swimming continuing to be certified as the national governing body for the sport of swimming. 

With some initial discussion following the proposal passing being concerned about currently married couples now being in violation, USA Swimming reminded its membership that it does not include pre-existing relationships. 

Summer is almost over for most schools around the country with school sports and open amateur sports programs beginning across the United States.  New sports season can often mean new coaches, supporting staff and new teammates. 

As every parent prepares their young athlete for the new sports season, they get all the right equipment and make sure their children have everything they need to be successful for training and competition.   Parents purchase the new team gear and may stock up on the latest trend in “energy” products to keep young athletes refreshed and hydrated in the field of play.  Parents   do as much as they can to ensure their children have whatever they needs to make the  team, be successful at training and are in the best position they can be to win their races or contests.

As parent engage in this preparation, seldom do they consider   the dark side of sports -- sexual abuse, bullying and harassment.   If asked about the issue, most parents believe these are things they don’t happen in their school or their children’s youth sport program.  At best, parents might say they’ve watched the latest educational video and know what to look for.

Even when parents have watched that video and feel educated about sexual abuse, bullying and harassment,  when that behavior is right in front of them, they are at a loss with regard to what they should do,  Without policies and procedures in place to address these issues, individuals who abuse our children continue operating   in the sports system simply because there aren’t   mechanisms established to confront and penalize misconduct and ultimately to ban such individuals from continuing to work with our children. 

New York, NY—June 25, 2013—The United States Association of Independent Gymnastics Clubs (USAIGC) has announced it will formally adopt mandatory Safe4Atheles guidelines and policies Association-wide.  The announcement came at the USAIGC/IAIGC World Championships in Palm Springs, California earlier this week. 

Effective immediately, the USAIGC has made it mandatory for all member clubs to complete a 100% background check on all employees & club owners by the end of 2013.

“On behalf of our club owners and their students, I am very proud that we have taken this essential move to make Safe4Athletes’ policies a reality for every one of our member clubs,” said USAIGC President Paul Spadero.  “USAIGC Clubs are now setting the standard in athlete and children’s safety and welfare. Through this process, our member clubs will collectively provide a safe gymnastics club environment.”

“The USAIGC is the first gymnastics organization to proactively take an ‘athlete first’ approach,” said Safe4Athletes Founder and former Olympic swimmer, Katherine Starr.  “It’s an organization that is already taking a balanced sports/education lifestyle approach with its college gymnastics compulsory program track.  Now they are taking the important step of protecting every one of their athletes from misconduct as well.” 

Today Rick Curl was sentenced for 7 years for the sexual abuse of Kelley Currin that happen almost 30 years ago.  Rick has been a free man and participating in life like the rest of us for the past 30 years without any consequence for his actions of sexually abusing this minor swimmer at the time in question.

Why didn’t something happen sooner?  Something did happen.  The family settled a confidential case with an undisclosed amount and a gag order was imposed to prevent anyone from discussing the case. Life was meant to go on as normal and all is good. After all Rick Curl was a good coach.   He produced Olympians and successful swimmers throughout the collegiate system.

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Every athlete deserves a safe and positive sports environment. SPEAK UP if the way you are being treated feels wrong. 
If you need advice in sorting through a situation or concern. SAFE4ATHLETES is here to help.

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