Athlete and coach-led education that teaches about abuse: an overview of education theory and design considerations

Jennifer McMahon*, MELANIE LANG, Chris Zehntner, Kerry McGannon

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)
    14 Downloads (Pure)


    Research shows that athletes across levels and sports have been subjected to maltreatment with non-sexualized forms such as psychological abuse and neglect found to be the most common. With the normalization of many of these forms of abuse occurring in sports, researchers have called for the ‘safeguarding’ of athletes to focus on prevention through evidence-based education. Yet evidence-based abuse education remains limited in research literature. Further, a critical examination of educational theory, design considerations and the implications of such applications when applied to learning contexts (i.e., abuse education programs) in sport remains scarce. This paper is the first in a series, generated from a project where we designed, implemented, and evaluated an online athlete-and coach-led abuse education program that taught children through to adults (coaches, athletes) about non-sexualized abuse and the effects of this maltreatment. As such, this present paper provides a critical overview of the educational theory and design considerations of this abuse education program, namely Ivor Goodson and Scherto Gill’s narrative pedagogy and the use of culturally responsive and culturally relevant content, with challenges and possibilities of these applications outlined. In doing so, we envisage that this article will serve to advance understanding of the educational theory narrative pedagogy as well as other design considerations of an abuse education program which achieved successful learning outcomes. In turn, this may assist sporting organizations and child protections agencies worldwide when designing, developing, revising, or implementing their own abuse education programs.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSport, Education and Society
    Early online date4 May 2022
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 May 2022


    • child protection in sport
    • abuse prevention
    • Safeguarding
    • abuse education
    • narrative pedagogy
    • non-sexual abuse

    Research Institutes

    • Institute for Social Responsibility

    Research Centres

    • Centre for Child Protection and Safeguarding in Sport


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