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Thursday, 29 March 2012 14:42

Are you a Bystander?


By now all of have heard about Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and his non- action in response to the Sandusky incident (an assistant coach caught in a sexual act with a young boy).  I would describe Paterno as playing the role of a “bystander”.    According to Merriam-Webster a bystander can be described as one present but not taking part in a situation or event ; a chance spectator. 

I got to thinking about this bystander behavior as I read about the Mission Viejo Nadadores swim club officials who were  purported to have been aware of a coach-athlete sexual relationship with a sixteen year old girl as far back as 2006, but who did nothing.  At first glance one could argue that we should address the policy issue that no coach should be in a relationship with an athlete regardless of consent or age, which we should be the case, no question there.  However , the deeper issue here is the question of knowledge of the situation and why neither club officials, coaches nor parents responded to it responsibly?

The Orange County Register brought light to the Mission Viejo Nadadores swim team up and coming young coach Daniel Ad’m Dunesbury and his alleged relationship with a sixteen-year-old swimmer that occurred back in 2006.  Click here to read the entire article.  

Here is the Safe4Athletes response to both the article and the Mission Viejo response. 

Sexual abuse in sports of a young athlete is often not immediately recognized or understood, however over time everyone around the situation is affected in some way shape or form.

This situation is a perfect example why it is difficult for a young girl to speak up about the abuse. This response focuses on even the alleged victim unwillingness to come forward  (Risk reward for the girl, there isn't any for saying something happened) and the timeline as to how they reacted. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012 07:12

Safe4Athletes Brochure

Download the Safe4Athletes Brochure

- Available for Print or Download

Monday, 13 February 2012 08:34

Sexual Exploitation in Sports

Sexual Exploitation in Sports

Sexual exploitation in sports is not substantially different from sexual exploitation by an educator. However, because of the unique relationship between athletes and coaches, some additional issues need to be addressed.

Millions of children in the United States participate in school or community-based sports programs. Some of the many benefits to these children are learning responsibility, increased self-confidence, positive self-image, learning teamwork, and learning good sportsmanship. Although generally a positive experience, some young athletes risk being sexually abused by their coaches. Reports of coaches being charged with abuse, exploitation, and rape are becoming more and more common.

Sunday, 12 February 2012 10:31



Revised Sept 2013

Schools and colleges that are recipients of federal funds are obligated to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and its specific obligations related to sexual harassment and gender equity.  Athletics directors should consult with the institution’s Title IX coordinator and legal counsel to ensure that all adopted policies and procedures conform to these laws.


Friday, 10 February 2012 06:31

Keep Our Child Athletes Safe


The Olympics are fast approaching. Who doesn't love watching these glorious athletes defy the laws of gravity, overcome adversity, and battle staunch competition to soar beyond our imaginations? Who isn't swept up watching Shawn Johnson win the gold medal on balance beam, or Usain Bolt dash across the finish line, or Michael Phelps cut through the water to break every record many times over? We love our athletes. They inspire us, they make us believe the impossible is possible, and, truthfully, they ignite our belief in our own humanity. That's a tall order, but these athletes, many of them children, do this for us time and time again.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012 05:13

Elite Child Athlete Welfare Handbook

Elite Child Athlete Welfare Handbook

The Symposium on which this book is based took place at Brunel University, UK on 17 and 18th June 2010. Participants included researchers from sociology, psychology and sports medicine, policy makers from national and international sport and welfare organisations, and practitioners from various national and international sport governing bodies. All are committed to promoting the best in sport and preventing the worst, and to ensuring that young athletes realise their own potential in the safest possible environment. The purpose of this introductory chapter is to set the scene for the other contributions in the book and to offer some potential frameworks for devising research and policy agendas in this field.

Recent reviews of talent identification and youth sport in the sport science literature are summarised and critiqued in relation to athlete welfare. In particular, it is argued that the ‘time-economic motive’ (Vaeyens et al., 2009) has undermined the prospects for delivering children’s rights in elite sport. The work of Coté and colleagues (2003) is used to illustrate a wider approach to welfare in sport that opens up some possibilities for re-balancing both the discourses and the practices of elite sport for children. The case of Tom Daley, child Olympic diver, is used to highlight some of the welfare challenges facing sport organisations, support staff and others in their attempts to scaffold talented young athletes.  Contradictions and tensions are set out that are intended to guide thinking on how best to cater for the welfare of the elite child athlete.

This study investigated associations between the use of maintenance strategies and relationship quality within coach-athlete dyads. A total of 251 participants (146 athletes and 105 coaches) were administered the Coach-Athlete Relationship Maintenance Questionnaire (CARM-Q) to measure the use of conflict management, openness, motivational, preventative, assurance, support, and social network strategies and the Coach-Athlete Relationship Questionnaire (CART-Q) to measure closeness, commitment, and complementarity.

Written by: Elaine Raakman1, Kim Dorsch2 and Daniel Rhind3

1Justplay Inc., Burlington, ON, Canada E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 2University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada 3Centre for Youth Sport and Athlete Welfare, Brunel University, UK

Monday, 09 January 2012 19:57

Safe4Athletes Handbook

Safe4Athletes Handbook revised March 2013

The purpose of this publication is to provide any local sports club with a turnkey program containing the basic policies, procedures, forms, guidelines and educational materials that will enable the club to immediately install a management system that advances athlete safety and welfare.  Each document contained in this Handbook is available as a free download in Word format on the Web site, so it can be customized with the name of the club and appropriate club staff and contact information.

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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.

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