Abuse Awareness Resources

 Should I Be Worried About My Kid Doping?
(5/13/2020)
 
   

Should I Be Worried About My Kid Doping?


Performance Enhancing-Drugs and Red Flags for Parents


There’s no question that the pressure in youth sports has become increasingly high over the years. The money and time dedicated to exclusive camps, extended travel, and elite club teams have reached epic proportions in the quest for stardom, scholarships, and status. Even in youth sports, there are also many examples of success or self-worth being sought through darker means, including the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) like human growth hormone (hGH) and testosterone.

When it comes to how success is achieved, there’s also no question that young athletes are very much influenced by those around them. In addition to parents, athletes are often influenced by coaches, trainers, medical support personnel, professional sports idols, and their peers.

Young athletes exposed to the win-at-all-costs attitudes of others are susceptible to adopting the behaviors that go along with that climate, and in some cases, may even be directed to abuse substances. These substances can enhance performance and violate the rules of sport, but more importantly, they can lead to devastating physical and mental effects.

As parents, it’s important to evaluate the influencers in your athlete’s life and be aware of substance abuse warning signs. Here are three red flag phrases that might indicate your athlete is in a risky situation or facing pressure to dope.

1. "Everyone does it."

The phrase “everyone does it” has been used to justify doping for decades at all levels of sport, from high schools to the Tour de France. This reasoning can result from exposure to PED abuse by peers, as well as the many examples of professional athletes who’ve found success through shortcuts.

Unfortunately, the life-threatening impact of this mentality is evidenced by the story of Taylor Hooten, one of the most well-known examples of a student athlete whose quest for success through steroid use led to the worst possible outcomes, including physical effects like back acne and rapid muscle growth, as well as mental effects like depression and aggression, and finally, suicide.

Taylor sourced the steroids from a local gym, and even in 2003, before widespread internet use made substances even more accessible, Taylor’s close friend Billy Ajello told the New York Times that steroid use was “extremely widespread” at the boys’ high school before Taylor’s death.

In addition to the “everyone does it” mentality among peers, Ajello believed that students construed mixed messages from coaches. ''Coaches don't come out and say, 'Take steroids,' '' Ajello told the New York Times. ''Freshman, sophomore, junior year, they tell you you're too small. A kid thinks high school sports are everything: 'I have to take it to the next level to get bigger and stronger to play.'"

He also noted, “I think the coaches know and almost kind of turn their heads. I think if they knew for sure, certain coaches would pull a kid aside and say, 'What are you doing?' I think other coaches would turn their heads, and even if they knew wouldn't say anything to a kid.''

As the TrueSport Report further confirms through national research and data, “High school and college coaches who turn the other way on bad or delinquent behavior (e.g., drinking, violence off and on the field) are sending a strong signal that such behavior is acceptable.”

2. “It’s for their health or benefit.”

In some cases, the pressure to dope may be more forceful and come directly from a person of influence in an athlete’s life. If an authority figure - whether it be a coach, medical professional, or parent – encourages an athlete to dope, it’s extremely unlikely that the athlete will be able to resist or even realize that they are doing anything wrong because their sense of security and understanding of right and wrong is frequently dependent upon the adults around them.

These trusted authority figures may also attempt to justify the behavior by insisting that a pill or treatment is necessary to protect the athlete’s health, is required for inclusion in a training group, or is the only way to achieve success. An authority figure may also insist that an athlete hide their use from friends, family, and other adults because they wouldn’t understand, which can alienate the athlete from positive influencers while further uniting the athlete with a negative influencer.

There are many examples of authority figures directly facilitating doping behaviors by young athletes, but one of the most egregious may be the case of Corey Gahan, whose own father, a trainer, and an alleged medical provider arranged for him to receive increasingly risky injections to improve his in-line skating performance. It started with b-12 vitamin injections when he was 12 and quickly escalated to testosterone and hGH injections.

“Both his father and his trainer, Corey says, assured him that the shots were for the best,” according to a Sports Illustrated article. “The prick of the needle was accompanied by a pinch of guilt; it felt, as Corey puts it, ‘like I was doing something wrong.’ But he believed in his dad, a charismatic and fiercely ambitious former high school wrestler. He also trusted his trainer, a bodybuilder who acted like a big brother. Besides, what did Corey know about the substances being injected into his body? ‘Testosterone cypionate, it's just a word,’ he says. ‘It doesn't have a meaning. At least not when you're 13.’”

By 16, Corey was breaking records at top competitions and testing positive for testosterone and another steroid. While his reinstatement from a two-year ban hinged on acceptance of counseling and a medical evaluation, Corey’s father, trainer, and the false doctor were under investigation and went on to receive jail time for their crimes.

"This case shows the extent to which drugs have infiltrated youth sports," said U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis T. Tygart to Sports Illustrated at the time. "It was hard to punish this kid. Yes, he cheated and unfairly beat other competitors, but he was under his father's influence. The kid was a victim."

3. “Don’t worry, it’s safe.”

Sometimes, there is also risk from trusting an influential person even when that person respects the athlete’s health and wellbeing, as well as the rules of sport. This is especially true in today’s climate of rampant supplement use and radical health trends to support and enhance performance. But with supplements regulated pre-market and wellness clinics offering treatments banned in sport, there are many opportunities for exposure to prohibited and potentially dangerous substances, even when assurances are provided that a product or treatment is safe.

Unfortunately, a recent case involving a young and up-and-coming weightlifter illustrates this risk. Abby Raymond was just 14 years old when a family friend and fitness influencer offered her a protein powder and a pre-workout supplement from his newly formed company. The family friend assured Abby that his company’s products were plant-based, vegan, and made from all-natural ingredients. Excited about the sponsorship opportunity but recognizing the risk that supplements pose, Abby’s father pointed out that she was subject to anti-doping rules, so the products would have to be completely free of prohibited substances. This concern was met with further assurances by the family friend and company owner that the supplements were safe. After just weeks of using the supplements, Abby had an anti-doping test and soon learned that she had tested positive for ostarine, a prohibited anabolic agent that’s not approved for human use or consumption anywhere in the world. Later testing confirmed that the supplements were contaminated, to the family friend’s surprise, but Abby still received a period of ineligibility from sport and devastating damage to her reputation.


Remember, young athletes are vulnerable to the influence of trusted authority figures and their peers, so it’s important to stay alert for signs of a win-at-all-costs environment, including the red flag phrases and situations above. To learn how to support clean and healthy decisions, visit our Clean Sport Lesson.


TrueSport®, a movement powered by the experience and values of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, champions the positive values and life lessons learned through youth sport. TrueSport® inspires athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators to change the culture of youth sport through active engagement and thoughtful curriculum based on cornerstone lessons of sportsmanship, character-building, and clean and healthy performance, by creating leaders across communities through sport.


 Hazing
(8/14/2018)
 
   

Hazing


How to Recognize, Reduce, and Respond to Hazing


The following information has been provided by SafeSport, a program of The United States Olympic Committee. SafeSport aims to create a healthy, supportive environment for all participants of sports through education, resources and training. The overall goal is to help members of the sports community recognize, reduce and respond to misconduct in sports. For more information, please visit safesport.org.

Being a team member shouldn’t come with additional requirements that get in the way of enjoying sports. Hazing often begins as seemingly benign behavior but can become an issue if allowed to continue. Since hazing often occurs among peers, coaches and staff can send a strong anti-hazing message by creating an environment that encourages individuals to raise concerns or share information. In addition, most states have enacted legislation to discourage hazing and hold those who participate accountable; and these laws can provide additional support for anti-hazing efforts.

DEFINITION

Hazing involves any conduct that subjects another person, whether physically, mentally, emotionally or psychologically, to anything that may endanger, abuse, humiliate, degrade or intimidate the person as a condition of joining or being socially accepted by a group, team, or organization. Purported Consent by the person subjected to Hazing is not a defense, regardless of the person’s perceived willingness to cooperate or participate. Examples of Hazing include:

a. Contact acts: Tying, taping or otherwise physically restraining another person; beating, paddling or other forms of physical assault. 
b. Non-contact acts: Requiring or forcing the consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs or other substances, including participation in binge drinking and drinking games; personal servitude; requiring social actions (e.g., wearing inappropriate or provocative clothing) or public displays (e.g., public nudity) that are illegal or meant to draw ridicule; excessive training requirements demanded of only particular individuals on a team that serve no reasonable or productive training purpose; sleep deprivation; otherwise unnecessary schedule disruptions; withholding of water and/or food; restrictions on personal hygiene. 
c. Sexualized acts: Actual or simulated conduct of a sexual nature. 
d. Criminal acts: Any act or conduct that constitutes hazing under applicable federal or state law.

EXCEPTIONS

Conduct may not rise to the level of Hazing if it is merely rude (inadvertently saying or doing something hurtful), mean (purposefully saying or doing something hurtful, but not as part of a pattern of behavior), or arising from conflict or struggle between persons who perceive they have incompatible views and/or positions. Hazing does not include professionally accepted coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, appropriate discipline, or improved Athlete performance.



Courtesy of The United States Olympic Committee.


 Sexual Misconduct
(8/14/2018)
 
   

Sexual Misconduct


How to Recognize, Reduce, and Respond to Sexual Misconduct


The following information has been provided by SafeSport, a program of The United States Olympic Committee. SafeSport aims to create a healthy, supportive environment for all participants of sport through education, resources, and training. The overall goal is to help members of the sport community recognize, reduce, and respond to misconduct in sport. For more information, please visit safesport.org.

Sport can teach lessons that reach beyond the field of play, but its ability to do so depends on maintaining the bonds of trust, mentorship and mutual respect among teammates. These elements are undermined when sexual misconduct occurs in sport settings. Sexual misconduct includes sexual abuse, sexual harassment and rape. Every member of the sport community, especially adult staff in positions of authority, can contribute to a sport environment free from sexual misconduct by working together and being informed.

DEFINITION

It is a violation of the Code for a Participant to engage in Sexual Misconduct. Sexual Misconduct offenses include, but are not limited to:

1. Sexual or Gender-related Harassment
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, when the conditions outlined in (a) and/or (b), below, are present. 

Sexual harassment includes harassment related to gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility, whether verbal or non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature, when the conditions outlined in (a) and/or (b), below, are present. 

a. Submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of any person’s employment, standing in sport, or participation in Events, sports programs and/or activities; or when submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for sporting decisions affecting the individual (often referred to as “quid pro quo” harassment); or 
b. Such conduct creates a hostile environment. A “hostile environment” exists when the conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, and/or pervasive such that it interferes with, limits, or deprives any individual of the opportunity to participate in any program or activity. Conduct must be deemed severe, persistent, or pervasive from both a subjective and an objective perspective. 

Whether a hostile environment exists depends on the totality of known circumstances, including, but not limited to: 

i. The frequency, nature, and severity of the conduct; 
ii. Whether the conduct was physically threatening; 
iii. The effect of the conduct on the Claimant’s mental or emotional state; 
iv. Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person; 
v. Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct; 
vi. Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with any person’s educational or work performance and/or sport programs or activities; and 
vii. Whether the conduct implicates concerns related to protected speech. 

A hostile environment can be created by persistent or pervasive conduct or by a single or isolated incident that is sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment, particularly if the conduct is physical. A single incident of sexual contact without Consent, for example, may be sufficiently severe to constitute a hostile environment. In contrast, the perceived offensiveness of a single verbal or written expression, standing alone, is typically not sufficient to constitute a hostile environment. 

2. Non-consensual Sexual Contact (or attempts to commit the same)
It is a violation of the Code for a Participant to engage in Sexual Contact without Consent. 

Sexual Contact is any intentional touching of a sexual nature, however slight, with any object or body part (as described below), by a person upon another person. 

Sexual Contact includes but is not limited to: (a) kissing, (b) intentional touching of the breasts, buttocks, groin or genitals, whether clothed or unclothed, or intentionally touching of another with any of these body parts; and (c) making another touch themselves, the Participant, or someone else with or on any of these body parts. 

3. Nonconsensual Sexual Intercourse
It is a violation of the Code for a Participant to engage in Sexual Intercourse without Consent. 

Sexual intercourse is any penetration, however slight, with any object or body part (as described below), by a person upon another person. 

Sexual Intercourse includes (a) vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; (b) anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; and (c) any contact, no matter how slight, between the mouth of one person and the genitalia of another person. 

4. Sexual Exploitation
It is a violation of the Code for a Participant to engage in Sexual Exploitation. Sexual Exploitation occurs when a Participant purposely or knowingly: 

a. Allows third parties to observe private sexual activity from a hidden location (e.g., closet) or through electronic means (e.g., Skype or live-streaming of images) without Consent of all parties involved in the sexual activity. 
b. Records or photographs private sexual activity and/or a person’s intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breasts or buttocks) without Consent of all parties in the recording or photo. 
c. Engages in voyeurism (e.g., watching private sexual activity or viewing another person’s intimate parts when that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy), without Consent of all parties being viewed. 
d. Disseminates, shows or posts images of private sexual activity and/or a person’s intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breasts or buttocks) without prior Consent of the person depicted in the images. 
e. Intentionally exposes another person to a sexually transmitted infection or virus without that person’s knowledge. 
f. Engages in prostituting or trafficking another person. 

5. Bullying, Hazing, or Other Inappropriate Conduct of a Sexual Nature. 

NOTES


• An imbalance of power is always assumed between a coach and an athlete.
• Minors cannot consent to sexual activity with an adult; and all sexual interaction between an adult and a minor is strictly prohibited.


REPORTING SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

It’s critical for clubs, coaches, staff members, volunteers and parents to report suspicions or allegations of sexual misconduct to the proper officials and appropriate law enforcement authorities.

By working together, we can create safe conditions for sport and protect athletes.



Courtesy of the United States Olympic Committee.


 Emotional Misconduct
(8/14/2018)
 
   

Emotional Misconduct


How to Recognize, Reduce, and Respond to Emotional Misconduct


The following information has been provided by SafeSport, a program of The United States Olympic Committee. SafeSport aims to create a healthy, supportive environment for all participants of sports through education, resources and training. The overall goal is to help members of the sports community recognize, reduce and respond to misconduct in sports. For more information, please visit safesport.org.

Sports can help individuals build skills, making them stronger and better able to deal with challenges. The wide range of emotions athletes experience in practice and competition are a normal, healthy component of sports. However, a repeated pattern of behavior by either coaches or teammates that can inflict psychological or emotional harm has no place in sports. By gaining a complete understanding of the actions that qualify as emotional misconduct, participants can be in a stronger position to take action.

DEFINITION

Emotional misconduct includes (a) Verbal Acts, (b) Physical Acts, (c) Acts that Deny Attention or Support, (d) Criminal Conduct, and/or (e) Stalking. Emotional Misconduct is determined by the objective behaviors, not whether harm is intended or results from the behavior. 

a. Verbal Acts: Repeatedly and excessively verbally assaulting or attacking someone personally in a manner that serves no productive training or motivational purpose. 
b. Physical Acts: Repeated and/or severe physically aggressive behaviors, including but not limited to, throwing sport equipment, water bottles or chairs at or in the presence of others, punching walls, windows or other objects. 
c. Acts that Deny Attention or Support: Ignoring or isolating a person for extended periods of time, including routinely or arbitrarily excluding a Participant from practice. 
d. Criminal Conduct: Emotional Misconduct includes any act or conduct described as emotional abuse or misconduct under federal or state law (e.g. child abuse, child neglect). 
e. Stalking: Stalking occurs when a person purposefully engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, and knows or should know, that the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to (i) fear for their safety, (ii) the safety of a third person, or (iii) to experience substantial emotional distress. 

“Course of conduct” means at least two or more acts, in which a person directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about another person, or interferes with another person’s property. 

“Substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish. 

Stalking also includes “cyber-stalking,” wherein a person stalks another using electronic media, such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact. 

EXCEPTIONS


Emotional Misconduct does not include professionally accepted coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, appropriate discipline or improved Athlete performance. Emotional Misconduct also does not include conduct reasonably accepted as part of sport and/or conduct reasonably accepted as part of Participant’s participation. 



Contributed by The United States Olympic Committee.


 Harassment
(8/14/2018)
 
   

Harassment


How to Recognize, Reduce, and Respond to Harassment


The following information has been provided by SafeSport, a program of The United States Olympic Committee. SafeSport aims to create a healthy, supportive environment for all participants of sports through education, resources and training. The overall goal is to help members of the sports community recognize, reduce and respond to misconduct in sports. For more information, please visit safesport.org.

Sports are an incredibly constructive outlet for individuals, in part because athletes are judged solely on their abilities and performance. In this environment, hard work, persistence and improvement are defining characteristics. Harassment based on race, gender or sexual orientation affects team cohesion, performance and an individual’s ability to focus on building skills and enjoy competition. As with bullying and hazing, coaches and staff can create a supportive environment for sports by setting a zero-tolerance policy.

DEFINITION

Harassment is repeated and/or severe conduct that (a) causes fear, humiliation or annoyance, (b) offends or degrades, (c) creates a hostile environment (as defined above), or (d) reflects discriminatory bias in an attempt to establish dominance, superiority or power over an individual or group based on age, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, national origin, or mental or physical disability; or (e) any act or conduct described as harassment under federal or state law. Whether conduct is harassing depends on the totality of the circumstances, including the nature, frequency, intensity, location, context, and duration of the behavior. Examples of Harassment include:

Physical offenses:
• Hitting, pushing, punching, beating, biting, striking, kicking, choking or slapping an athlete or participant.
• Throwing at or hitting an athlete with objects, including sporting equipment.

Non-physical offenses:
• Making negative or disparaging comments about an athlete’s sexual orientation, gender expression, disability, religion, skin color or ethnic traits.
• Displaying offensive materials, gestures or symbols.
• Withholding or reducing an athlete’s playing time based on his or her sexual orientation.

EXECPTIONS

Conduct may not rise to the level of Harassment if it is merely rude (inadvertently saying or doing something hurtful), mean (purposefully saying or doing something hurtful, but not as part of a pattern of behavior), or arising from conflict or struggle between persons who perceive they have incompatible views and/or positions. Harassment does not include professionally accepted coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, appropriate discipline, or improved Athlete performance. 



Courtesy of The United States Olympic Committee.