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Coaches Who Prey
Coaches Who Prey

  • The purpose of addressing this topic is to help parents and athletes openly communicate about and prevent child abuse within our sports programs.   
  • The bond can be very powerful between athletes and coaches in both schools and recreation teams, as proven by two Seattle Times staff reporters who shared the information below as to what parents can do
  • About 6,000 school and volunteer coaches in the U.S. have records of sexual abuse, and 1%-2% of our school coaches are sexual abusers.  Thousands of young athletes across the country may be at risk of being molested by sexually abusive coaches. 
What Parents Can Do
  • Be aware of clues:
    • Coaches who seem to show their daughter extra attention (a sign he may be grooming her).
    • Full-body hugs by the coach.
    • Rides home alone from practices or games, and one-on-one training.
    • Cards, gifts and even sports-related awards which are targeted at one athlete and not the team.
    • Sleepovers at the coach’s house, even if the entire team is invited. 
    • Coaches who ask athletes to baby-sit their children.
    • Long or repeated phone calls to and from the coach, or a seeming dependency on the coach or his advice.
    • Out-of-town trips to tournaments or camps.  Make sure there are enough parents along to supervise.
    • A daughter suddenly quitting or losing interest in her favorite sport, or not  wanting to be near a coach.
    • Coaches who jump from team-to-team or district-to-district.  Parents can obtain a coach’s disciplinary records from a school district by filing a Public Disclosure Act request.  They can also ask the state education office for similar misconduct information on teachers who coach.  
    • Do not let someone outside of the family have a private personal relationship with your child.  
  • Be aware of charming coaches.  Charm is a predator’s best tool, because it makes parents less likely to suspect him and victims less likely to be believed.  
  • Make sure your schools check every coach (teacher, custodian, and other school employee) for a sexual-misconduct history—and make sure their policy is to not employ such individuals.  (Remember—clean histories are no guarantee.)  
  • Read Athletic Safety First, an excellent piece of information from CAPPAA—discussing a parent’s guide to child athletic abuse; physical, emotional and sexual child athletic abuse; signs of sexual abuse; vulnerable girls can become victims, and more.  View the May 2010 article entitled “Sexual Athlete Abuse, Coaches Prey on Athletes.”