Sports play an essential role in the development of youth. Participation in youth sports helps children improve the physical, social, emotional and academic aspects of their lives. Many of us also have fond memories of childhood organized sports including little league baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, swimming, gymnastics, and dance.
Unfortunately, youth sports also provide predators with easy access to children in an environment where abuse could go undetected. Young athletes may spend considerable amounts of alone time with coaches, teammates and team volunteers on the playing field, traveling to tournaments or taking part in camps. Often with little to no parental supervision. Coaches, volunteers, and team administrators are often looked up to, idolized and even revered. Children are taught and expected to obey coaches and team leaders without question. These coaches often preach “teamwork” and “protect the team at all costs.” This coaching style often makes children afraid to report sexual abuse by their coaches and team volunteers for fear of the stigma and repercussions from teammates.
There are some common sense guidelines parents can follow to reduce the risk of sexual misconduct by a coach, trainer, or team doctor:
- Never leave your child alone with a coach, trainer, or team physician.
- Conduct your own background search.
- Do not give up your authority as a child’s parent. You make all final decisions.
- Do not allow the coach, trainer or physician to ridicule or shame your child.
- If a coach, trainer, or physician is physically inappropriate, report it immediately to the proper authorities.
- No coach, trainer or team physician should send your child a text, e-mail or direct electronic message unless it is part of a group chat.
If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped or sexually molested by a youth coach, team leader, team administrator or sports team member, contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org