Imagining sport in Lithuania: Young athletes' views on safe sport

MELANIE LANG, LAURA PURDY*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

Abstract

Sports organisations have a moral and legal duty of care to deliver sport in a safe environment and to promote the welfare of athletes. This right to what has become known as ‘safe sport’ is now firmly established on the global policy agenda. Simultaneously, there is growing understanding of the need to engage with athletes, including those who are children and young people, and involve them in safe sport developments and research to ensure initiatives are effective and (child-) athlete-centred. However, to date most developments and research in this area have excluded athletes. The project presented here, in which researchers delivered a series of workshops on safe sport topics to current youth high-performance athletes in Lithuania, aimed to explore youth athletes’ views on the safe sport issues they consider most relevant to sport in their nation. Using a qualitative case study approach, data were generated through focus group interviews with 17 Lithuanian undergraduate student-athletes (average age 22) from sport-related degrees. Analysis identified doping, overtraining, emotional/psychological abuse, and corruption as the issues the young athletes consider most pertinent to their sporting lives. The project highlights the importance of working with current youth athletes to understand the issues they consider important to their experience to better enable sport policymakers and educators to develop relevant and meaningful safe sport training.

Keywords

  • safe sport
  • athlete welfare
  • athlete rights
  • athlete 'voice'
  • athlete participation
  • Lithuania
  • Child Participation
  • children's rights and sport
  • youth sport
  • listening to children and young people
  • safeguarding in sport
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • (child/youth) athlete ‘voice(s)’
  • Safe sport

Research Institutes

  • Institute for Social Responsibility

Research Centres

  • Centre for Child Protection and Safeguarding in Sport

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