A few minutes of your time could be the difference between an athlete being silent about their abuse or having a voice to speak up. 

We are asking you to help make sports Safe4Athletes by taking a few minutes of your time to participate in our survey. By COMPLETING our survey we can learn a little bit more about each sport at every level.  

There is very little current data to truly understand the type of abuse that has transpired in sports for decades.  We know that it's there and know that each sport has different unique characteristics of the type of abuse (Sexual, verbal, physical and emotional). Help us change that by completing the survery. We want to hear from anyone that has competed for a single season to having committed to over 10,000 in pursuit of excellence in your sport. The more knowledge we can gain the bigger the impact. Help us change what is broken and preserve what makes sports great.  

The survey can be completed by either the athlete or an athlete parent of a minor competitor. The minor competitor can complete the survey as well as Athlete Self. All responses are anonymous. 

Please share this survey with your networks as the more the "past and present" athletes at all levels of sport participate the louder our collective voices become.

Click here to take the SURVEY we will look forward to sharing our findings in the coming months. (Stay Tuned)


Thank you for helping us Make Sports SAFE4ATHLETES

Written by: Katherine Starr

The upcoming film “Palo Alto” centers around a 14 year old high school girl soccer athlete, played by Emma Roberts (actual age 22), who gets romantically involved with her high school soccer coach, played by James Franco.  (Movie Trailer click here )

The trailer for this movie begins with scenes depicting the dynamics between Emma Roberts and her teammates, who are openly discussing the obvious attraction that is going on between Emma Roberts (Athlete) and James Franco (Coach).  We see Emma Roberts displaying her shyness and obvious attraction for her coach as she is teased by her teammates.

 The next vignette of the trailer shows a series of boys, the age of the girls, acting out of control and Robert’s frustration with their immaturity when all she wants is a loving mature boyfriend.  This sets  the stage for James Franco to make sexual advances toward Emma Roberts,  while Emma is showing open displays of frustration with boys her own age. Roberts is left vulnerable to be sexually molested by her coach as she sits in her locker alone at school as the coach approaches her. The Coach enters with the narration overlay “I’m older and I know that there aren’t a lot of good things around”. The  coach molests the 14 year old high school soccer player.

Dec 31, 2013  Reprint from Swim News:

In the wake of a series of sex and abuse stories, what really matters to swimmers and to our swimming community? Sure swimming fast and winning medals is fun and exciting. It makes us feel good about ourselves...for a moment. But the real long term benefits of swimming, sustained good feelings, come only from a career that is filled with goals that are striven for in failure and success, positive relationships we make along the way, and appreciating the journey of swimming, not just a fleeting moment atop the podium. 

Yet most of our sports' rules don't focus on how swimming shapes our lives. Instead they focus on some idea of fairness, of protecting ourselves from “cheaters” in the pool, whether they are those who dope (and those who help them do it) or those who cut corners on strokes and turns. But we consistently fail to effectively protect ourselves from harm, whether through overuse injury, mental exhaustion, or worse, physical abuse from a coach or peer. We don't do enough proactively to create an atmosphere, a reality, that allows us to grow and thrive as swimmers and as people. 

USA Swimming supposedly hired an outside firm, the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center, to give an assessment of its Safe Sport program and address how well the internal program has performed when it comes to investigating allegations of athlete sexual abuse.

There was mention of addressing the USA Swimming population of almost 350,000 members and requiring them to act as mandatory reporters, being on the look out for abuse in the home. There was also mention of the fact that swimmers expose much of their body when in swimming suits so that abuse in the home might be more widely recognized. 

All these issues are important but they miss the mark when it comes to understanding the power dynamic between the coach and the athlete.  It is critical to address coaches’ behaviors that are professionally unacceptable but tolerated for fear the coach will retaliation by withdrawing teaching attention or selection for competition. The report also fails to understand the role that parents play in pushing their child to success and encouraging their children to do whatever the coach tells them to do.  

Parents come to Safe4Athletes daily asking for advice and help on how to address the coach’s misuse of power in the  sports environment.   These answers and solutions are within reach if the sports program has implemented the Safe4Athletes   program because policies specifically prohibit grooming, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, physical and sexual abuse as well as bullying behaviors. There are clear and concise definitions and actions to be taken in response to such behaviors.  These administrative actions are swift because they happen  at the local level.  There is no risk of delay or reports being lost in the bureaucracy of the national organization.

 When such a locally administered program is not in place, parents and athletes have little recourse unless they go to USA Swimming and file a complaint which can take in some cases years or offer no resolution at all. What do parents and abused athletes   do in the meantime--Sit around in frustration or find another place to train?  The negative choices in such a situation are endless.  Lack of swift and certain resolution causes frustration amongst the teammates and the parents alike. 

You are here: Home Blog
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.

Safe4Athletes: PO Box 650, Santa Monica, CA 90406 - Tax ID-46-2290559