BALTIMORE, July 1, 2013 – The US Lacrosse Board of Directors has approved a written Standard for Athlete Safety and Protection that officially defines the national governing body’s position on safeguarding the well-being of minor athletes. The 14-page document outlines both prohibited and prescribed conducts and behaviors for its adult members who interact with youth athletes in various leadership capacities, including in the roles of coach, official, and team administrator or volunteer.
US Lacrosse believes that there are many reasons to play sports, including a wide range of physical, emotional and social benefits. Unfortunately, sports can also be an environment for misconduct. By outlining standards and guidelines, US Lacrosse hopes to remove all ambiguity in defining acceptable and non-acceptable behavior patterns.
Read the Full Standard for Athlete Safety & Protection (pdf)
“Our commitment to the welfare of athletes is paramount,” said Steve Stenersen, president and CEO at US Lacrosse. “There can be no tolerance for physical or sexual abuse of children in the sport of lacrosse, and we will continue to develop resources and policies focused on assuring a positive and safe environment for young lacrosse players.”
US Lacrosse expects its members to create a safe environment, on and off the field, to protect athletes, coaches and participants. Part of that safe environment is one that is free from potentially harassing and inappropriate behavior from adults toward minors. Members not following the appropriate conduct guidelines will be subject to the loss of membership in US Lacrosse. Further, any suspicion of misconduct will be reported to state and local child protective services and law enforcement agencies.
The organization’s formal standard aligns with its current strategic plan, which articulates US Lacrosse’s priorities over the next three years. Enhancing the quality of the lacrosse experience for participants and enhancing the organization’s capacity to lead and serve are identified among the top priorities within that plan.
“The new standards document was developed with a lot of input from both US Lacrosse volunteers and staff before receiving final approval by our board of directors” said Bruce Griffin, director of health and sport safety at US Lacrosse. “We want to acknowledge the valuable contributions from our Insurance and Risk Management Committee, which took the lead on this project and understood the importance of this issue for our membership.”
Through its educational programs and training initiatives, US Lacrosse has supported and led efforts to enhance player safety since its inception in 1998. Additionally, through the work of the organization’s highly-regarding Sports Science and Safety Committee, US Lacrosse has been at the forefront of both research and the adoption of risk management policies that provide athletes of all ages with the safest environment possible.
In addition to the new Standard for Athlete Safety and Protection, US Lacrosse has also partnered with the U.S. Olympic Committee on its current “Make the Commitment” initiative. For more information about this educational campaign aimed at stopping abuse in sports, please click here.
For more information about US Lacrosse’s ongoing efforts in the area of player health and safety, please visit www.uslacrosse.org/safety.
About US Lacrosse
US Lacrosse, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is the national governing body of men’s and women’s lacrosse and the home of the nation’s fastest-growing sport. US Lacrosse has more than 415,000 members in 64 regional chapters across the country. Through responsive and effective leadership, US Lacrosse provides programs and services to inspire participation while protecting the integrity of the sport.