Sport Docs Speak Out About Safeguarding Athletes from Abuse in Sport
The Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine Highlights the Need for Clinicians to be Active in Addressing and Preventing Maltreatment in Sport
January 28, 2022
OTTAWA – The Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine (CASEM), the accrediting body for Sport and Exercise Medicine physicians in Canada, today released a new position paper to advance the safe sport movement by detailing how the medical community can contribute to addressing and preventing maltreatment in sport.
“Much more work remains to be done to safeguard athletes,” said Dr. Ashley Stirling, principal author of the position paper. “While it has been encouraging to see a recent move to more proactive approaches, we continue to see that athletes are impacted by cases of maltreatment. Our goal is to continue pushing forward these safeguarding efforts for athletes within and outside of Canada.”
The position paper notes that while reflection on recent cases of maltreatment promotes an awareness of the many stakeholders involved in its perpetration and perpetuation, further consideration of the nuances required to enhance clinicians’ approach to ensuring the safety of athletes from these harms is vital.
“On the eve of the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Games it’s important for us to remember that everyone involved in organised sport, at all levels, shares the responsibility to adhere to the principles of safe sport, through best practice and the implementation and adherence of safeguarding policies,” said Dr. Cathy Campbell, CASEM president.
In order to advance the safe sport movement and contemporary safeguarding efforts, the authors of the paper urge that discussion must extend to the roles and responsibilities of those who are supporters of safe and healthy performance within and beyond the direct sport environment, including the Canadian sport medicine community.
“As sport medicine physicians it is important for us to take leadership roles in the movement for safe sport. We hope that by working together to raise awareness and promote more active roles we can keep pushing the movement forward in an impactful way,” said Dr. Margo Mountjoy co-author of the position paper.
The authors strongly advocate that it is essential to update the call for sport medicine specialists to be educated on issues of maltreatment in sport and be equipped with strategies to help address or intervene if/or when potential cases arise. They have outlined specific recommendations for the practice of sports medicine professionals in the position paper.
About the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine
CASEM is a pan-Canadian medical organization of over 1000 sport and exercise medicine physicians; our membership includes leading medical experts in all areas of primary care and specialty sport medicine (Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Physiatry, Orthopedics, Emergency etc).
The CASEM was developed because of specific medical problems presented at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico, and became officially incorporated on June 8, 1970. Since that time it has evolved from an organization providing medical care to elite athletes at international events to the leading source of information and expertise in the art and science of sport medicine.
About Sport and Exercise Medicine Physicians
Sport and Exercise Medicine physicians have specialized training and skills that position them to be caregivers for active patients of all ages. They have an interest in the promotion of lifelong wellness and fitness, as well as in prevention, diagnosis and management of illness and injury related or affecting sport and physical activity.
Executive Director, CASEM