General Resources

SafeSport Resources

In addition to specific information for athletes, parents, coaches and regions, here are other materials that can assist any interested person in helping to create healthy settings for sport. Misconduct has the potential to not only affect your performance but also cause physical or emotional harm. Spotting inappropriate behavior depends on understanding what's acceptable as you encounter new and different situations. The following recommendations can help you steer clear of potentially harmful interactions.

Resources

Information on Child Protection, Abuse Prevention and Ways to Seek Help

These resources provide information on child protection, abuse prevention and ways to seek help.

U.S. Center for SafeSport 

Safe 4 Athletes
Advocate for athlete welfare

Darkness to Light
To empower people to prevent child sexual abuse 

Kid Power
Global nonprofit leader in teaching positive, practical personal safety skills to protect people of all ages and abilities from bullying, molestation, abduction and other violence, and to prepare them to develop positive relationships that enrich their lives. Kidpower makes it FUN not SCARY.

Your Life, Your Voice
24/7 Hotline: 800-448-3000
Resources for children, teens and young adults dealing with depression, abuse or contemplating suicide

Stop Bullying
Information on bullying, including who is at risk, prevention and responding, and the laws in each state to prevent bullying and protect children

Child Welfare Information Gateway
Comprehensive information and resources to protect children

Stop It Now!
Preventing sexual abuse of children by helping take action before it starts

Childhelp
National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
Staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a professional crisis counselor

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect
Information on laws and policies that designate the groups of professionals that are required to report cases of suspected child abuse and neglect. Includes summaries of laws for all U.S. states and territories.

Positive Coaching Alliance
PCA is a national nonprofit works to provide all youth athletes with a positive and character-building youth sports experience

MomsTeam
Resource site for sports parents with a wide variety of youth sports topics including health, safety, nutrition, psychology and sports parenting

Electronic and Mobile Communications Between Coach and Athlete

  • If you're under age 18, ask your parents to review the sports organization's policy on electronic and mobile communications. You should look at that policy as well, and ask questions to make sure you understand proper procedures.
  • If you are under the age of 14, coaches should send all electronic and mobile communications to your parents directly, and copy you as the athlete. There is nothing a coach should say to you that a parent should not be aware of.
  • If you're between the ages of 14-18, your parents can allow coaches to send electronic and mobile communications directly to you, as long as your parent is copied on those communications. This approach respects your growing independence, but maintains transparency and responsible awareness.
  • If you're under age 18, you should immediately forward to your parents any electronic and mobile communications from a coach if your parents were not included on the communication.
  • If you're under age 18, make sure to copy your parents on any electronic or mobile communications directed to a coach that you initiate.
  • You probably rely more on text messaging to communicate so ask your coaches to set up a texting group to ease communications with athletes - and if you're under age 18, ask your coaches to include parents on all text messaging groups or convert those text messages to email format for parents.
  • If you're under age 18, should a coach accidentally send you an electronic or mobile communication without including your parent, speak with your parent and let him or her know what happened, even if the message doesn't seem to be a problem.
  • If you're under age 18, let your parents know if you become aware of any inappropriate electronic or mobile communications between a coach and one of your teammates.
  • Immediately let another coach, administrator or responsible adult know about any mobile or electronic communications you receive that make you uncomfortable.
  • Be a responsible user of mobile and electronic communications, making sure to stay positive and appropriate in all messages with administrators, coaches and fellow athletes.

Locker Rooms and Onsite Private Spaces

  • Review the organization's policy on locker rooms and changing areas. If you're under age 18, ask your parents to review the policy with you, and ask questions.
  • Recognize that nearly every cell phone today is a camera, and most take videos. This provides a level of temptation to record athletes changing that should be strongly countered. To avoid concerns, do not use phones in the locker room! This includes texting. It is easy enough for a coach or athlete to text and use the phone before entering the locker room.
  • Locate an athlete common area in or near the locker room that is distinct from the changing area. This would be a space where phones could be used.
  • If the locker room is a shared facility (e.g. a city gym), come dressed for practice/competition and shower/change at home.
  • Ask parents to make sure non-participating siblings and friends stay out of the locker room.
  • Know proper behavior in the locker rooms and changing areas, and tell a coach or your parents if another athlete, coach or other organization member is acting inappropriately in these areas.
  • If you need to visit a coach's office or other onsite private area, make sure another responsible adult is present. Otherwise, you might put that coach in an uncomfortable or awkward situation.
  • Ask your coaches to post staff outside of the locker room during "heavy use" times to monitor athletes for bullying, harassment or hazing.
  • Ask your coaches to conduct random locker room sweeps by a coach of the same sex throughout the time that the locker room is open. This will help to reduce the risk of outsiders in the locker room and of others taking advantage of the distraction present during practice.
  • During practice, take care to notice how long a fellow athlete is gone when visiting the locker room. Ask the coach to check on the athlete if he or she is away for more than 5-10 minutes.

Planning and Executing a Safe Social Event

  • If you're under age 18, ask your parents to volunteer as a carpool driver and chaperone to help with transportation.
  • If you're under 10, ask your parent or a chaperone to accompany you to public restrooms.
  • You and your teammates should wear team clothing to allow for easy identification of athletes and group members in a public setting.
  • No matter your age, don't drink alcohol before or during a team social event, and tell your teammates to avoid alcohol as well.
  • Follow the directions of your administrators, coaches, parents and chaperones; be courteous to everybody, and have fun!

Local Travel for Practice and Competition

  • Make sure to have your parents review and enforce the organization's policy on local travel.
  • Ask your administrator and coaches to oversee carpool arrangements or create team directories to help parents develop their own carpools.
  • Vary your carpool arrangements so that no one adult other than you ever becomes solely responsible for your child's local travel over an extended period of time.
  • Ask your administrators and coaches to provide an early team social event so that families from the same neighborhood can meet one another and discuss travel arrangements.
  • Get the organization's central phone number in case you need to notify coaches or administrators because of an emergency or other personal delay.
  • Give the coach your parent's cell phone number as well as a list of back-up contacts for alternate transportation in case practice ends early due to inclement weather, equipment problems, etc.
  • Ask administrators and coaches to notify your parents at least two weeks prior to practice schedule changes, if possible, so that you can arrange alternative transportation if needed.
  • Make sure your parents notify your administrators and coaches if your transportation arrangements change.

Safer Overnight Travel

  • Review the policy on overnight travel with your parents and ask administrators to share the policy with all parents, athletes, coaches, staff members and volunteers.
  • Encourage your parents to attend overnight travel and competitions whenever possible, either as a parent or chaperone.
  • Ask your parents if they can become trained chaperones and accompany traveling athletes to increase the chances of a safe trip.
  • Socialize with teammates and fellow traveling athletes in the hotel common areas rather than in the hotel rooms.
  • Respect all established travel, curfew and bed check procedures.
  • Wear team gear while traveling to make it easier for coaches and chaperones to monitor.
  • Ask your parents to attend team events and social gatherings while traveling.
  • Make scheduled and unscheduled phone calls to your parents, and encourage your teammates to call their parents, just to let them know how you're doing and how the trip is going.
  • Ask your administrator to debrief overnight travel experiences with all athletes and adults to identify problems encountered and potential improvements.

Overnight Travel for Younger or Less Experienced Athletes

  • Ask administrators to take you and your parents through a basic training of the "rules for travel" (e.g. traveling in groups, multiple chaperones, etc.), and ask lots of questions.
  • Ask your parents to attend your first overnight travel competitions.
  • Ask administrators to provide your parents a full itinerary three weeks prior to the trip whenever possible so that you can learn the schedule.
  • Identify your teammates who have traveled before, and ask them what overnight travel is like.
  • Know who your traveling roommate will be at least one week prior to travel and try to train together so that you are more comfortable around them.
  • You and your parents should speak with chaperones and let them know you are a first-time traveler.
  • Bring a family cell phone and call your parents frequently to let them know how you're doing.

Parent Communications with Traveling Athletes

  • Make sure you have the cell numbers for all of the adults on the trip for emergency contact.
  • Make sure you have contact information for all hotels and venues.
  • Maintain cell phone access and encourage fellow athletes to send information to their parents during the trip - especially as the messages confirm travel progress.
  • Encourage the administrator to establish an email and text group for broadcasting information to parents as a group. Then, ask the administrator to set a schedule for broadcasting travel progress (e.g. reaching the airport/hotel, etc.) so that parents can follow progress.
  • Encourage your administrators to create a social media platform (Google+, Skype, Facebook, etc.) group for parents. This will enable video and online communications at the team hotel.