Experts develop safety proposals
TWO academics from Edge Hill University are working with UK Coaching to develop proposals to ensure the welfare of young athletes.
Dr Mike Hartill and Dr Melanie Lang, are working with UK Coaching, which is leading an industry-wide group to develop a set of proposals for safeguarding and protecting talented and elite young athletes.
The group will seek to ensure that welfare remains a priority before, during and after involvement in talent pathways, which help promising athletes reach an elite level.
Four key areas of additional risk to talented and elite young athletes have been identified by the group: training and competing away from home; general training and competition; club and training centre challenges; and support structure.
Proposals for these will be developed in line with recommendations made by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson in her independent review of the duty of care in sport; the EU-funded Safeguarding Youth Sport report; and other reports, including the culture of sport work carried out by UK Sport.
The group will also engage with athletes themselves as key stakeholders in the process, and agree on the appropriate way to disseminate recommendations to the sector.
Melanie, senior lecturer in child protection in sport, said: “My role with UK Coaching involves helping identify some of the key safeguarding issues that specifically affect talented and elite athletes – we know from research that this group is more at risk of various forms of violence and abuse, for example.
“I’ve also authored a review of literature on inter-generational touch for the group’s research sub-group.
“Inter-generational touch in sport is one of my own areas of research, and the review identifies the key messages from research, suggestions on best practice for practitioners and highlights what further research is needed to plug our knowledge gap.
“We’re hopeful that these reviews of empirical research will be used to feed into coach education courses and position papers that UK Coaching delivers.”
“We’re pleased to be involved in this initiative and hope that we will be able to contribute to improving standards for children who aspire to the highest levels of performance in sport,” added Mike, who is a reader in the sociology of sport at the university.