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Integrity & Athlete Welfare Insights From Sport Resolutions

Wed 22nd Apr 2015 | Football Industry Events

Ahead of the upcoming ‘Integrity and Athlete Welfare’ conference Sport Resolutions asked some of its panel members to offer their insight into current sporting debates.

Highlights from the interview series:

Should there be stricter rules in place for any head injury such as automatic removal from play and/or a certain number of days before they can play again?

Professor Jack Anderson: “Frank Warren when writing in the independent in February, commented that in Britain any professional boxer who is stopped in a bout is suspended for at least 28 days, regardless of the circumstances.

"Should that boxer be knocked out or suffer excessive punishment to head or body, he would receive a minimum suspension of 45 days, which would include sparring, and in either case no boxer would be allowed to fight on until receiving medical clearance from a British Boxing Board of Control  doctor.

"In extreme circumstances this would include a further brain scan, in addition to the scan and MRI that boxers must take annually. Warren compared this to “rugby and football too – where there are growing concerns about the alarming brevity of head-injured players returning to action, often only after a few minutes.”

There are a lot of high profile incidents where an athlete has retired from their sport, that has been a part of their daily routine since they were a child and really struggled with depression. Most recently Clarke Carlisle was in the public eye explaining his suicide attempt. Are athletes educated on what to expect and how to deal with life after sport? What support systems are out there for them?

Dr. Kitrina Douglas: “What our research has also shown is that the culture of sport is problematic, in that ‘we’ (sporting public, journalists, performance directors, and often family) only ever ask the athlete about, or show an interest in, or debate and discuss the ‘athlete’ dimensions of the person’s identity, and if we do consider other dimensions of their self, it is most often from the perspective of a performance narrative.

"For example, if a sport person gets married we will ask ‘will it enhance their performance?’ – ‘will ‘she’ distract him’ or visa versa. Given that this is always the focus of those who surround the athlete, it’s unsurprising many fail to develop other dimensions of their self. Better education of officials, performance directors, selectors, psychologists would help but this is only part of the problem/issue/challenge.”

What makes a sport more susceptible to match-fixing and corruption?

Nigel Mawer: “In betting related corruption, it needs to be a sport where betting markets are offered and where there is interest from bettors to ensure liquidity in the betting markets. This can help to disguise the betting and often comes where there is TV coverage so people can watch their bets in action.

I also think that there is a difference between team sports and individual sports. In team sports it takes the involvement of more people to ensure the betting outcomes. In individual sports you only need to corrupt one player. In sports of fine margins such as snooker, it is very difficult to determine an honest mistake against an honest miss.”

To hear Sport Resolutions’ legal members and other experts share their insight into doping, match-fixing, athlete welfare, and head injury in sport on 14 May 2015, click here

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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