The Routledge Handbook of Athlete Welfare


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    The benefits of sport have long been recognised, with organisations worldwide seeking to harness these by using sport as tools to achieve national and international health, social and educational goals. Meanwhile, recognition that sport participation exposes athletes to inherent risks to their welfare is far more recent. Global sport and non-sport organisations such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have only officially acknowledged this darker side to sports participation in the past decade. Meanwhile, in recent years athlete welfare has assumed a new importance. Athletes have come forward to disclose their experiences of (sexual, physical and emotional) abuse and exploitation, harassment, bullying, discrimination, hazing, injury, eating disorders, addiction and depression. As a result, the potential negative impact on athletes of the high-stakes culture of contemporary sport, with its ‘win-at-all-costs’, ‘accept-no-compromises’, ‘no-pain-no-gain’ ethos, has come under increasing scrutiny from the media, governments, sports organisations and academics. Simultaneously, initiatives to develop a safer, more ethical and positive environment that recognises sport’s role in safeguarding athletes and promoting their welfare are springing up worldwide. Prioritising the welfare of athletes is increasingly becoming an essential minimum standard for sports organisations globally in the development of their programmes and practices. Comprising 35 newly commissioned chapters, this comprehensive collection is the first to consider athlete welfare. In several instances, chapters represent the first published account of developments in this area. The collection provides a holistic approach to athlete welfare, highlighting policy, theoretical and disciplinary approaches to the topic, as well as outlining the latest cutting-edge research on specific welfare issues in sport from around the world. It also covers the approaches taken by governments and sports organisations to prevent and manage athlete welfare issues.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationLondon
    Number of pages400
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Feb 2020


    • athlete welfare, abuse, maltreatment, violence,

    Research Centres

    • Centre for Child Protection and Safeguarding in Sport


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