UK Sport advertising for a new head of mental health is long overdue

Posted: Wed, 05 Sep 2018 22:34

UK Sport advertising for a new head of mental health is long overdue

British cycling created a "culture of fear". A British canoeing coach resigned after an internal investigation into claims of grooming and sexual assault. Para-swimmers were bullied, described in derogatory terms and offered psychotherapy sessions if they required help coping with the trauma of the abuse. A senior coach with Great Britain's winter Olympic bobsleigh squad allegedly said: "Black drivers do not make good bobsleigh drivers." This is just a snapshot of what we already know; there is much more that we do not. In May, UK Sport's culture health check found 30 per cent of British athletes training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics had experienced or witnessed "unacceptable behaviour" during their training. Only a quarter of athletes with concerns reported them to their national governing body. And 24 per cent of those surveyed in Olympic or Paralympic sports were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with "measures taken in their sport to optimise the mental health" of athletes. All of this shows that UK Sport advertising for a new position – head of mental health – is long overdue. The new job is designed to "support positive mental health for athletes, coaches, support staff operating in the high performance system". Read more: "It is a lot harder to dope today than it was 19 years ago." How authorities are harnessing AI to catch drugs cheats It amounts to belated recognition that, somewhere during the UK's medals-at-all-costs age, the fundamental understanding that athletes are human beings was lost. All Olympic and Paralympic athletes understand the profound sacrifices they must make: theirs is not, and never will be, a career like any other. But the arduous demands inherent to their sports, and the ruthlessness of UK Sport's funding system – with athletes, and entire sports, not considered to represent good value for money in delivering medals at constant risk of having their funding culled – are only reason to be more vigilant about the risks of abuse. So a new head of mental health is a welcome start, but, given how endemic abuse has been across all Olympic and Paralympic sports, it must be just that: a start. The beginning of a cultural shift

Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/sport/other/uk-sport-mental-health-team-gb-support-abuse/

Tags: London 2012, Sport, UK Sport