Creating a Safe Environment for Athletes of Ages and Abilities
In 2019, AOSSM appointed Michelle Wolcott, MD as our representative on a Task Force led by the U.S. Center for SafeSport to create an online educational series to improve the processes, recognition, reporting, and treatment of athlete abuse. Under the auspices of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), U.S. SafeSport along with experts from several National Governing Boards (NGBs) including AOSSM recently deployed a training module for healthcare providers that is specific to the medical care of athletes, and the relationship with medical personnel. This module is available free to AOSSM members. Login and click the link at the bottom of this page to take the module and earn your U.S. Center for SafeSport certification in this important area of athlete safety and care.
About the Initiative
Competitive athletes dedicate their time, resources, and wellbeing to sport. The hierarchical structure in which they train and compete can make them vulnerable to abuse. Sexual harassment and abuse are violations of human rights that damage individuals and organizations1. These behaviors also violate federal law, state law, and guiding instructions from multiple organizations. All athletes are entitled to train, compete, and receive medical care in an environment that is free from sexual harassment and abuse. The medical team is often the first line of care for an athlete suffering physical, mental, or emotional stress. Sports medicine physicians should be responsible for identifying and preventing sexual harassment and abuse and for promoting and maintaining a culture of dignity, respect, and safety within the sport community and in the training room.
The purpose of working with SafeSport and creating educational materials is to create a culture of responsiveness and to foster a safe environment in which athletes may thrive. This newly released online educational series of modules was specifically designed for medical personnel as a resource to recognize potential sexual abuse/harassment and provide an immediate and appropriate response.
1 IPC Handbook, May 2008, IPC Position Statement on Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport, Section 2, Chapter 4.2
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