USA FOOTBALL ATHLETE PROTECTION

Protecting and improving the development and well-being of athletes and football participants.

USA Football implemented a corporate SafeSport policy that addresses misconduct. Athletes who have been mistreated may experience social embarrassment, emotional turmoil, psychological scars, loss of self-esteem and negative impacts on their relationships with their family, friends, and the sport.

THE POLICY WE'VE IMPLEMENTED IDENTIFIES SIX PRIMARY TYPES OF MISCONDUCT:

  • Bullying
  • Harassment
  • Hazing
  • Emotional misconduct
  • Physical misconduct
  • Sexual misconduct (including child sexual abuse)

Misconduct may hurt an athlete’s competitive performance and may cause him or her to stop participating in sports entirely. USA Football requires all of our full-time staff and any volunteers, contractors, interns and adult participants who have routine contact with minors or who meet other criteria set forth in the policy to be both background checked and SafeSport certified.

Our partners at NBC SportsEngine have developed and made available to youth leagues materials and resources to help organizations protect athletes and create an environment that encourages safety, openness, and disclosure.

By implementing the appropriate policies and procedures, youth football organizations can fulfill their obligations to coaches, athletes and parents. Although every league and club is different, the model policy provides information that can serve as a starting point for designing an effective plan.

YOUR ATHLETE PROTECTION POLICY SHOULD ADDRESS AREAS WHERE MISCONDUCT CAN OCCUR INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO:

  • One-on-one contact
  • Social Media
  • Travel
  • Locker Rooms

Your detailed athlete protection policy should focus on procedures intended to reduce the risk of potential abuse for athletes. In addition to these procedures, your policy should include guidance on what to do in the event of suspected misconduct.


DOWNLOAD PROCESS EXAMPLE

As a part of any youth football league or club athlete protection policy, USA Football strongly recommends that organizations require all coaches who engage in regular contact with minor athletes (under the age of 18) satisfactorily complete a background check and have been certified by USA Football prior to participating in League activities.

You can find out more information about USA Football's preferred background check providers here. As part of USA Football Youth Coach Certification, thanks to our partners at NBC SportsEngine, coaches receive comprehensive sexual abuse awareness training designed to fulfill the requirements of the Safe Sport Act.

TOPICS COVERED WITH COACHES DURING THE NEW ABUSE PREVENTION TRAINING MODULE AS PART OF USA FOOTBALL YOUTH COACH CERTIFICATION INCLUDE:

  • Facts and misconceptions
  • Abuser characteristics
  • The grooming process
  • Methods to reduce risk
  • Peer-to-peer abuse
  • If a child reports abuse
  • Impact on children
  • Responsibility to report

RELATED PAGES

DOWNLOADS

USA Football
Safesport Handbook

Model League
SafeSport Handbook