Former England footballer teams up with training provider to protect the sport’s rising stars

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Safeguarding sport

Safety and health practitioner

Former England, Liverpool and Manchester City footballer Paul Stewart, in partnership with High Speed ​​Training, has developed a new survivor-led course to protect the sport’s rising stars.

Photo credit: Paul Stewart

The program came about after disturbing research found that a third (32%) of parents are unsure whether their child’s sports coaches have had protection training.

The study, which was commissioned by the training provider, interviewed 1,000 parents of children attending grassroots sports clubs about their experiences and knowledge of protecting their club.

With reports indicating that between 40 and 50% of athletes have experienced some form of abuse and many top sports figures speaking out, the new protection course brings a wave of hope to those who are most passionate about it. by protecting children who participate in sports.

Paul Stewart, who has spoken openly about his own experiences of abuse in the sport as a child, was one of the first players in 2016 to present details of historic abuse committed by a coach of a youth team.

Paul comments: “I am delighted that by working with backup and training experts I have been able to produce something that can have such a positive impact on an issue that concerns me personally.

“In developing this course, I am determined to turn what was such an overwhelming childhood experience into something positive for children in sport.”

As for, one in ten parents (10%) said they were unsure whether it would be safe to identify signs of abuse, whether physical, sexual or emotional, in a child. Considering that 86% of children play sports, these numbers are striking.

This is also documented in the recent Truth Project thematic report on child sexual abuse in sport, which stated that “adults have not responded appropriately to changes in behavior or other indicators of concern in sport. children, even when they were very apparent ”.

Other research by the NSPCC has also highlighted the lack of parental knowledge about protection in sport, with 20% of parents whose children attend sports and recreation clubs admitting that they would not know. who to contact if they have concerns about the welfare of the child at the club.

An alarming number of parents interviewed admitted that they were not told about protection policies and procedures regarding the following topics:

Photo credit: high speed drive

  • Using the cell phone and taking pictures / videos of the children (39%)
  • Handover procedure including drop off / pick up (47%)
  • Staff / child ratios (56%)
  • Use of changing rooms (57%).

The new course, which is supported by sports icons such as Gary Lineker, rugby league giant Kevin Sinfield, former great English and British Lions Brian Moore, Olympic medalist Marilyn Okoro and Ryder Cup golfer Ian Poulter , provides athletic coaches, parents and volunteers with the tools to be able to confidently identify and prevent abusive behavior in grassroots sports, as well as to understand and implement the recommended safeguard procedures around them. points above.

Speaking of the course, Gary Lineker OBE said: “It is through the work of grassroots sports clubs that children have the opportunity to play sports. This course is designed so that coaches can do what they do best, knowing that their protection procedures are strong and up to date. Unfortunately, history tells us that things can go wrong, so club leaders need to make sure they put measures in place to prevent abuse. “

Richard Anderson, Head of Content Production at High Speed ​​Training, comments: “Our research shows that more needs to be done to ensure that parents and coaches are both able to identify the signs of abuse and ill-treatment and to report them appropriately, and prevent all forms of abuse. is happening in their sports club.

“With a third of parents not sure if their child’s athletic coaches have taken protective training, we hope our research will encourage people to engage in these important conversations and encourage enrollment in the course to protect our young athletes by. grass. “

For more information on the High Speed ​​Training Safeguarding in Sport course, click here.

To learn more about the study, click here.

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