THE COACH AND CHILD ATHLETE RELATIONSHIP

“As sport is a highly child-populated domain, the establishment of child-protection measures to reduce the potential for child maltreatment in sport is critical.”

“Concern for the protection of children in sport has a history that is as old as modern sport itself; however, it is only recently that concern has been established about children’s experiences of relational forms of abuse and neglect in this domain.” [Child Protection in Sport: Implications of an Athlete Centered Philosophy, Gretchen A. Kerr, Ashley E. Stirling, Quest, v60 n2 p307-323 May 2008]

Ancient Olympic Athletes certainly were not victims of Athlete Abuse. They were protected and revered not maltreated. Ancient Olympic Athletes were not vulnerable.

Today’s NBA Stars are well treated and not abused by Coaches and other members of the Athletic Community, because they are not vulnerable. Child Athlete Abuse Syndrome does not apply to Professional Adult Athletes.

Similar to Ancient Olympic Athletes prestige, they have the wealth and power to reject maltreatment.

The Grecian Olympic Athletic Ideal is contrasted to the Ancient Roman Gladiators. See the following.

“Life was cheap during Roman times, and no one knew that better than gladiators – men pitted against one another in fights to the death for the viewing pleasure of both society’s elite and the masses.

Since Roman times gladiators and athletes have fought to the death and competed to the bitter end for societies’ elite and the fans.

Gladiators in ancient times lived and died by the impulses and fancies of their more powerful leaders. Even when they were victorious on the battlefield, all they won was the chance to fight and hopefully survive for another day.

Some Athletes today face the same predicament.
[NCAA Sacked with Lawsuit Aligning conspiracy and Ant-Competitive Scholarship Practices, Steve Berman, Oct 26, 2010 Seattle PI] [http://www.cappaa.com/index.php?s=Gladiators]

“It is the authors’ supposition, following research, that an athlete-centered philosophy of sport is perhaps the best way to address the protection of children in sport.

The philosophy of an athlete-centered sport model is described in the publication, and through the integration of an athlete-centered approach to sport, recommendations are made for future implementation of child-protection measures. [Child Protection in Sport: Implications of an Athlete Centered Philosophy, Gretchen A. Kerr, Ashley E. Stirling, Quest, v60 n2 p307-323 May 2008]

What are the “philosophical issues about both the nature of coach-athlete relationships and our understanding of what constitutes virtuous behaviours in these relationships”?

The author of this research publication argues that sporting organizations should treat child sexual abuse as partly facilitated by the structure and traditions of this relationship, and should endeavour to intervene by creating relationships between athletes and coaches that are less likely to lead to exploitative practices.

And this understanding of the issue offers a challenge to the historical/sociological ‘objectivity’ suggested in the use of MacIntyrian ethical theories. [Obeying until it hurts: coach-athlete relationships. Burke, M., Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 2001 Vol. 28 No. 2 pp. 227-240]

Child Protection in Sports, Recreation and Exercise, a Child Athlete Centered System and the Coach-Child Athlete Relationship are dependent on making “crystal clear” the complete role of the Coach in SRE.

The complete Role of the Coach has been enacted in Child Protection Law for Children, but is not presently “crystal clear” Public Policy.

There are “High-n-Mighties” in the Hierarchy of Sports, Recreation and Exercise (SRE) Safety Responsibility, who believe they are immune from Civil snd Criminal liability. For some it is true for civil. These “High-n-Mighties” deliberately:

-Further closed SRE societies
-Protect their bottom lines
-Advance the Code of Silence
-Promote “win-at-all-costs”.
-Foster SRE “Nations Unto Their Own” (Condaleeza Rice) that are want-to-be impervious to outside interference.

Those proponents expose the Child Athlete to Endangerment and Abuse and the Coach to Criminal and Civil Liability for the sake of SRE.

The Penn State Coach Jerry Sandusky Child Sexual Abuse tragedy is a case on point.

“During the span of 13 years, more than 24 men and women — some in high positions, others in menial jobs — learned of the heinous crimes committed by the former defensive coordinator of Penn State’s football team.

“Sandusky was found guilty of sexually abusing 10 boys and was convicted on 45 of 48 charges — but not before he destroyed lives.

The roll call of these adults underscores one of the most baffling elements of this sweeping crime: the culture of silence.”

“CNN reported that Spanier, Curley, and Schultz discussed and later rejected plans to alert authorities after learning that Sandusky was in the shower with a boy.

“Citing emails from 2001, CNN reported that Curley wrote that he changed his mind about alerting authorities after speaking with Paterno. The others concurred.

“Sometimes sin of omission is greater than sin of commission,” Art Baselice said.
[Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State: The culture of silence, Sunday, July 01, 2012, By IVEY DEJESUS, The Patriot-News]

Parents and Guardians leave their Child Athletes in the Custody and Control of Amateur School and Non-School Coaches after they have signed or given verbal agreements for Permission to Participate in SRE, camps. overnighters, travels, trips etc.

High profile SRE programs and highly respected Coaches are like chocolate ice cream bars attracting Children, their parents and guardians, into the web of sport dreams, sideli ne and press box visits, free tickets and game trips and other enticements, when the Coach has a nefarious agenda.

An extremely sad commentary: everyone must Beware the Sexual Predator in SRE. “The bird has a nest, spider a web, man a friendship.” [William Blake] The Coach-Child Athlete relationship might not be safe like home.

But, during participation in SRE and other activities, the Coach has the duty of Care and complete Welfare for the Child and Child Athlete.

A Power-Gap between the Coach and the Child Athlete is immediately established. as it should be. The Coach is in charge.

However, the Child Athlete is vulnerable and susceptible to Coaching Misbehavior.

The Permission to Participate Agreement does not grant a Problematic Coach, if his/her malbehavior is unbeknown by the Parent or Guardian up front, the freedom to exploit that Power Gap and Maltreat and Abuse the Child Athlete.

Everyone knows SRE accidents happen, while playing by the rules of the game, in safe SRE environments, with proper athlete protection, coaching supervision and conduct. Serious Injuries and Deaths that occur during blameless circumstances are Inherent and Natural to the game that athletes play. They are called Accidental and Not-Preventable. An aggressive clean football tackle that fractures an arm is an Accident and Not Preventable.

Conversely, Preventable, Not Accidental Injuries and Deaths occur at a rate of approximately fifty per-cent.

For example, push-up punishment that causes serious shoulder injury requiring surgery is Preventable and Not Accidental and is Child Athlete Abuse Syndrome (CAAS).

Preventable, Not Accidental Injuries and Deaths of SRE Children (<18) Athletes are secondary to severe punishments, injury mismanagements, such as concussion, over-use exercise, physical assaults and participation during severe weather conditions i.e. dangerous heat index, poor air quality and electrical storms to name a few. Child Athlete Abuse Syndrome is a Short Title for a Clustering of Child (<18) or Youth (15-18) Athlete Serious Injury, Disease and/or Death secondary to: ► Physical endangerment, maltreatment and/or abuse ► Psychological (Emotional) endangerment, maltreatment and/or abuse ► Sexual Abuse ► Failed child custodial protection ► Negligent care giving supervision ► Human rights violations ► That were inflicted, caused, created, or allowed to be inflicted, caused, created, directly or indirectly by the Problematic Coach, including the Strength Training, Conditioning and other specialty Coach, Problematic Parent or other Problematic Caretaker Person who has Child and Youth Athlete custodial protection, supervision, care and control during Sports, Recreation and Exercise Participation ► Failure to report the morbidity and mortality to Authorities is Illegal. [1.] [6.] ► In most United States, Children are minors when less than 18 years of age. ► The United Nations define Youth as persons between the ages of 15-24. Child Athlete Abuse Syndrome and Cruelty to Children in Sports, Recreation and Exercise (SRE) are matters of importance to Doctors and Health Care Personnel. They summons all Doctors and Health Care Personnel into action for the Awareness and Prevention of these Child Athlete Preventable, Not-Accidental morbidities and mortalities. School and Non-School Amateur Child SRE Coaches are “Temporary Substitute Caretakers” (TSC) in the eyes of the Public Law 111-320, Child Abuse Prevention Treatment and Reauthorization Act 2010 and in the eyes of the U.S. Surgeon General and some states Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) and Child Protection Services (CPS). However, the Coach’s Role of Temporary Substitute Caretaker is not “crystal clear” public policy and not "crystal clear" in the language of the Law. It has not been heard, reported and promulgated to the ears of doctors, all public citizens, Coaches, parents and Child Athletes. It appears that mainly Legal Scholars know. The following is the first use of the accurate terms of the Coach-Child Relationship to my knowledge, which has been my research for 5 years: Thursday, August 2,2012 is the date of a preliminary hearing in a Fairfax County, Virginia, criminal court for COACH Noah Rucker, Curl-Burke Swim Club, who is accused of three felony counts of indecent liberties with a CHILD while in a CUSTODIAL, SUPERVISORY RELATIOSHIP. The charges stem from Rucker’s alleged sex acts 11 years ago with a high school swimmer he was coaching. [Irvin Muchnick Published July 31st, 2012, Concussions.com] THE FOLLOWING PROPOSED AMENDMENT (A), IS A KEY SOLUTION TO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE OF ATHLETES AND PARTICIPANTS IN SPORTS, RECREATION AND EXERCISE (SRE) BECAUSE STATES MUST IMPLEMENT ALL OF CHILD PROTECTION PUBLIC LAW 111-320, INCLUDING AMENDMENTS. • {the Following is a Proposed additional Public Health Amendment to Section 3. Paragraph 2. an innovation by Athlete Safety 1st as suggested in 2005 by the U.S. Surgeon General. The New Language is Capitalized and a recommended addition to S. 1877 described below}: (A) any recent act or failure to act, on the part of a parent or caretaker, “INCLUDING COACH SUBSTITUTE CARETAKERS OF SCHOOL AND NON-SCHOOL SPORTS, RECREATION AND EXERCISE”, that results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, or sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act that presents an imminent risk of serious harm; or • {the Following is a Proposed Amendment S. 1877 by Senators Casey and Boxer Language Capitalized Senate Bill 1877 (S. 1877 currently in Senate Committee awaiting action}: (B) >ANY DELIBERATE ACT<, on the part of an individual other than a parent or caretaker, that results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, or sexual abuse or exploitation, or that presents an imminent risk of serious harm to a child.’ Education, awareness and enforcing the Coach TSC role are the simple solutions to nearly 50% of the complex SRE child athlete injury risk management problems. Once the role of the Coach TSC becomes “crystal clear” public policy: • Children athletes with SRE injuries and deaths will be prevented • Athlete Safety 1st will be promoted • Coaches will not be blind-sided with criminal and civil litigations • Citizens and Doctors will report • Child Athletes will more likely self-report Child Athlete Physical and Psychological Maltreatment and Sexual Abuse Most importantly, doctors have a duty to practice with the knowledge and implications of the legal relationship between the Coach Temporary Substitute Caretaker and the Child Athlete’s supreme standard of care. Advocacy by doctors is another solution. Doctors are the eyes and ears of child welfare. Doctors can speak for Child Athlete welfare.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *