Monday, 29 November 2010

Focus on Swim Coach Sexual Abuse during Olympics 2012

Getting on the US Olympic swim team is a dream for thousands of young swimmers. Unfortunately, training sessions and swim meets are where abusive relationships between swim coaches and their protégés usually develop. It’s therefore natural that as we begin the countdown to the 2012 London Olympics, attention is being raised towards serious abuse issues in swimming that California sexual abuse attorneys have recently confronted.

A new study finds that youngsters who are training to compete at the highest levels are at the highest risk of being abused. A 14-year-old who is on the brink of selection for a national championship is less likely to open up about abuse, even if he or she thinks it may be wrong. A coach wields a lot of power, especially when it comes to determining which swimmer finds a place on the team. By this point, the children and their parents have already invested much time, money and resources, and it is harder to admit that you're being humiliated or abused by a coach.

The study took into consideration answers from young athletes who had finished their sporting careers. The results of the study were delivered at a symposium hosted by Brunei University’s International Research Network for Athlete Welfare.

Unfortunately, there is very little current research into the dynamics of an abusive relationship between a coach and a young swimmer in his care. Much of the research in this area consists of studies that have been conducted using athletes who are at the end of their professional sporting careers. Such studies are not taken too seriously by sporting bodies.

Part of the problem is that it's very difficult to get children to open up about abuse. You can't walk up to a child, and ask questions about whether he or she is being abused by his or her swim coach. Very often, children fail to understand that they're being abused. Very young children don't even know the definition of abuse. It is harder, therefore, to conduct current research that can actually help prevent abuse.

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