Posts Tagged ‘youth sports’

The Rate of Abuse and Molestation in Youth Sports

How prevalent is it?

The media makes sure we know when allegations and indictments of sexual abuse take place in our communities, particularly when children are the victims. Schools, religious and recreational youth organizations are ripe for the picking by such predators.

But a recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that instances of all types of abuse within youth organizations are actually quite rare. The researchers surveyed more than 13,000 children, including infants and children to age 17. The results show that less than 1 percent reported any type of abuse. And of that percentage, only 6.4 percent reported some type of sexual abuse.

The bad news

As encouraging as that is, it still means the up to 100,000 children may be subjected to sexual abuse while participating in youth-oriented activities.

The study results point out another point for concern. Of the children surveyed who reported abuse, 64 percent said the abuse was emotional or verbal, specifically saying they had felt scared or bad because an adult “called you names, said mean things to you, or said they didn’t want you.” That puts estimates at 1 million children being subjected to abuse of a non-physical nature, which is 10 times the number of those being sexually abused.

Defining abuse

It’s important to note that the statistics of abuse are never exact, in part due to underreporting of incidents, but also because of the different definitions of the word abuse. Government agencies use a legal definition, while JAMA Pediatrics’ criteria is whether the child feels he or she has been abused. In fact, the final conclusion of the study is that abuse in youth organizations is relatively rare and is dwarfed by abuse perpetrated by family members and other adults.

Preventing and combating abuse

Nonetheless, parents need to be aware of their child’s youth organization’s policies and procedures regarding screening and training of staff and volunteers. And parents should work together to make sure at least one parent is at every event, practice and game who is tasked with monitoring the behavior of staff and volunteers.

At Sadler Sports Insurance, we know that abuse and molestation incidents, while rare, result in very expensive claims and demand serious risk management attention. Our risk management page has a section with resources devoted to abuse and molestation prevention. Our resources range from a simple one-page abuse/molestation risk management program to a comprehensive seven page programs that covers all aspects from A to Z. We also have sex abuse and molestation training videos for your administrators and staff.

Source: Janet Rosenweig. “What is the rate of child abuse in schools, rec groups?” 01 Feb. 2016.

Fear of Concussions in Youth Sports

More effort in awareness and education needed

The anxiety level among Americans regarding concussions was found to be quite high according to a recent online survey. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center conducted the survey among 2012 Americans over the age of 18. The results highlight the myths and misunderstanding about concussions.

Nearly 90% of those surveyed consider concussions to be a moderate to severe health concern. Nearly one-third of parents said they fear their child will suffer a concussion, and 25% do not allow their children to play contact sports because they fear they’ll suffer a concussion.

Ironically, 26% of the parents surveyed did not seek medical treatment when someone in their family suffered a concussion. Worse, 81% of those surveyed said they would not know the steps to take in treating a concussion if they sustained one.

More statistics from the survey:

  • 87% did not know the definition of a concussion, and 37% admit to being confused as to what a concussion actually is.
  • 58% could not identify headache or dizziness as immediate symptoms of a concussion.
  • Only 34% understand that fatigue is also a symptom and just 13% know that mood changes can also be the result of a concussion.
  • 79% of adults incorrectly think concussions are incurable and that the symptoms can only be managed.

Decreasing the level of fear

Fear of concussion among many parents is affecting their decision to permit their children to participate in contact sports. While there has been much progress in educating coaches, trainers, parents and players about concussion risk management and treatment, there’s much work to be done.

Sports are a healthy physical and social activity for children and teens, and fear of injury should not prevent them from participating. Concussions are treatable and when properly managed, athletes can return to play. “With careful evaluation and treatment by a well-trained specialist, even the most complex injuries are manageable,” says Erin Reynolds, fellowship director of UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program.

Click here for the full survey results. We have more articles on concussions on our blog and offer free concussion risk management material in our risk management library.

Source: Susan Manko, “Are American Parents Too Afraid of Concussions?” 05 Oct, 2015.

Penn State settlements in sex abuse lawsuits reach $93M

Settlements average $2.9 million per claim.

Six of Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse accusers have settled with Penn State, bringing the total paid out thus far to $93 million. It is possible there are still outstanding claims that will be paid out in the future. A university audit statement shows the school has paid or agreed to pay 32 claims, according to a Nov. 25 WJAC-TV report.

Sandusky, serving a 30 to 60 year prison sentence, is appealing his conviction for 45 counts of sexual abuse that was at the center of a 2012 scandal. There are appeals rulings pending against three former administrators at the university who are seeking to have charges of covering up abuse complaints dropped.The court recently restored Sandusky’s pension from Penn State.

Last month, a case brought by Victim 6 against Penn State and Sandusky’s charity The Second Mile was dismissed after a confidential settlement was reached. In October 2013, the university settled with 26 people for $59.7 million and last April, the university’s board of trustees authorized settlement of additional Sandusky-related suits.

While your sports organization will likely never be embroiled in a lawsuit of this magnitude, sex abuse and molestation are very real risks within youth sports. We offer free risk management material to help prevent sex abuse. Many of our General Liability programs include coverage for sex abuse & molestation. To get a quote, visit and click on “get quote”.

Source: “Penn State’s Sandusky Settlement Total Nearly $94M,” 30 Nov. 2015.

Benching of Youth Participants and Resulting Lawsuits

Parents who pay want their child to play

It’s not yet what you’d call a trend, but there’s certainly an uptick in the number of parents filing lawsuits to get their child off the bench and onto the playing field.

Parents put out big bucks in registrations fees, equipment and travel costs associated with high school and youth club and travel teams, to say nothing of the time they invest attending practices and traveling to games. Many parents sacrifice their time and money for their children hoping to get the attention of college coaches, earn scholarships, and improve chances of college admissions – or even advance a professional athletic career. So, it’s understandable that some are dissatisfied when their child rides the bench more than he or she plays. In other words, they expect a payoff for their investment.

There is also an increase in lawsuits by parents of children who have been cut from teams, injured, disciplined by coaches or penalized by officials. But is hiring an attorney the answer? Many are questioning not only the attitude of entitlement, but how the children, who generally play for the fun and camaraderie, are affected by such lawsuits. What are the children learning when parents step in so heavily handed to smooth the way? Will they learn they’re entitled to play on a team simply because they attend practice? And are parents setting these athletes up to be bullied by other team members?

The increasingly competitive nature of youth sports has helped shift many parents’ focus from fun, exercise and sportsmanship to an investment in their children’s academic and professional futures. Youth sports officials are watching the case of a 16-year-old volleyball player. The girl earned spot on a volleyball league but ended up on the bench, so her parents filed suit against the volleyball association, alleging it won’t let the girl play or to switch teams, per the contract she signed.

General Liability policies, which typically only respond to certain lawsuits alleging bodily injury or property damage, don’t cover these types of lawsuits that allege loss of college scholarship or loss of pro career. Such lawsuits generally require a Professional Liability endorsement on a General Liability policy or a stand alone Professional Liability policy.

Source: Tracey Schelmetic,, 21 Apr. 2015.

Concussion Facts from HeadZone

Posted | Filed under Concussion

The effects of previous concussions and inadequate recovery time

HeadZone, a company that specializes in concussion baseline testing, published a list of concussion facts relating to children. Below are some of the more interesting ones:

  • Long term decreases in GPA occur when children have a history of two previous concussions.
  • Children with prior concussions are three times more likely to suffer an additional concussion.
  • Children with at least three prior concussions take longer to recover from the next concussion – greater than one month in most headball
  • Participants 18 years old and younger account for 95 percent of all catastrophic second-impact concussion syndromes.
  • 90 percent of children return to classes within four days of suffering a concussion, which is generally considered to be too soon. Two-thirds of those have a drop in their GPA for two months.

HeadZone offers eye tracking, memory, and cognitive tests that range from $15 to $35, depending on the age group.

I’ve personally witnessed the physical and academic impacts on some of my children’s’ teammates who suffered concussions while playing soccer.

A Reality Check for Youth Sports Administrators

Learn from the Paterno, Spanier, Curley and McQuery mistakes

This blog post isn’t specifically about the Penn State case and who was or wasn’t fired. Rather it’s a reality check for all involved with youth: no one is invincible. Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Mike McQuery did not commit the physical crimes against children that Jerry Sandusky did.  However, they were responsible and liable for their own actions when there is even a hint that someone is abusing a child.

The Penn State case is making national headlines because of its legendary coach and its football program, but it’s important to understand that such behavior occurs frequently in youth sports.  Most readers of this blog are involved in teams/leagues/youth programs in sYouth sports risk managementome capacity or another. Are you a coach, athletic director, team mom or a parent on the sidelines?  Whatever your position, today is the day to step back and realize where exactly you fit into the lives of the kids participating in your youth sports organization.  You are there to protect them at all costs.

Our previous blog post, Child Predators in Youth Sports, is a must read for anyone who is involved with children. It includes a link to a Sports Illustrated article written with the help of actual predators in youth programs detailing how they got away with their crimes. Did you know that, according to the article, studies have found that the average molester victimizes about 120 children before he is caught? That’s extremely disturbing! The blog post also offers useful risk management guidelines that your organization can implement today. And share this post with others so that we all can make a difference.

Follow this link for more articles on preventing sexual abuse and molestation.

Head Injuries and Concussions in Youth Sports

Reducing the chances of inherent sports risks

Concussion diagnosisAll sports carry some type of inherent risk, but what are they? For contact sports, a very common occurrence is the concussion (defined by Websters as “a stunning, damaging, or shattering effect from a hard impact; a jarring injury of the brain resulting in disturbance of cerebral function.”) According to the CNN report below, there is increasing evidence that brain damage actually occurs during a concussion.

What are some ways that your local organization is being pro-active in preventing head injuries or putting measures into place to nurture the injury or prevent further injury once it has occurred?

Lessons from Losing

Posted | Filed under Coaching, Health

 What young athletes can learn from losing

When your kids are on the field are you are stoked because your team is out to win?  Is winning always the best thing? The New York Times recently posted a great article,  Lessons Learned In Losing. The article does a great job of making us realize that it isn’t all about winning and that there are even health benefits in losing.

Take a moment today to comment and let us know what lessons you learned from losing.