During 2011, the gym lost about 35 per cent of its members, says school chief executive Avril Enslow. But numbers are building back up now as homes in the area are repaired and people become more confident about where they’re going to live. …
Enslow is proud of the achievements of her competitive gymnasts. Seven of the school’s members are on the long list for the Commonwealth Games so they’ll be going to trial later this year and early next for the New Zealand team. …
We start our special episode by looking back at some of the physical, emotional and sexual abuse stories from gymnastics’ recent past. We start in the 1980?s. If you are a long time listener, you’ll find out why Jessica always calls the 80?s the Dark Ages.
With three special guests we discover the history which brought gymnastics to this point of change, what has been done to stop abuse, what loopholes still need to be shored up, and what educational and policy programs for prevention are now available. In addition, you’ll find out how to stop and report gymnastics child pornography.
Our guests are, Scott Reid, investigative reporter for the Orange County Register, Katherine Starr, two time Olympian and founder of Safe4Athletes, and Lynn Moskovitz-Thompson, Director of Educational Services at USA Gymnastics. …
At some point, it became obvious that committees are not often very efficient at arriving at good decisions.
Instead of keeping eyes on the prize, committee members are easily distracted by the last “issue”. Most of a parents Board of Directors meeting — for example — will focus on the ill-fitting new leotards, not the club Mission.
• Legitimacy and Voice (participation, consensus)
• Direction (strategic vision, long term perspective)
• Performance (responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiency)
• Accountability and Transparency
• Fairness (rule of law, equity of power)
How can coaches, clubs and athletes protect themselves?
Problems or issues (‘fires’) that sport organizations deal with are handled in two parts – proactive and reactive. That is, there are steps an organization takes before the problem occurs that are aimed to prevent it (proactive) and steps the organization takes after the problem has occurred that are aimed to fix it (reactive). Organizations craft Policies that outline a procedure to cover both the proactive and reactive steps. …
Increasingly, in response to requests and questions from sport organizations, we are recommending the following:
Social Media Use Policy – for the organization’s staff and other stakeholders (internal document)
Social Media Guidelines for Athletes – ‘guidelines’ not ‘policy’ (internal document)
Social Media Guidelines for Coaches – ‘guidelines’ not ‘policy’ (internal document)
Social Media Policy – for coaches and athletes (external document)
As part of its ongoing efforts to promote a safe environment for athletes, USA Gymnastics is launching the “Clubs Care Campaign” in October. This educational initiative, designed specifically for gymnastics clubs, focuses on raising awareness about child sexual abuse so clubs can further their work toward establishing and maintaining a safe environment in their gyms. …
It’s now been over 2yrs since the death of adult recreational gymnast Michelle Maitland who hit her head on concrete at Townsville Gymnastics. Nothing can bring her back. But this report — released the day before what would have been Michelle’s birthday — might help prevent future catastrophic injury.
My friend Mike Outramsurvived after hitting his head on concrete.
Surely the very first thing coaches must do in any facility is make sure it’s impossible to hit concrete or steel. Long term, we need modify all foam pits to suspended systems, the best being the Jim Walker design.
Here are the 9 recommendations:
1. Gymnastics Australia should review the level of training, assistance and monitoring provided to clubs to implement the Club 10 program. This review should include the methods of monitoring compliance with, and implementation of, the program.
2. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, Sport and Recreation Services and Gymnastics Queensland should research how to link improved safety outcomes in the sport of gymnastics with the funding and non-financial support provided by SRS.
3. Gymnastics Australia should review their GA lesson plan template, in consultation with its members, with the view to developing a lesson plan template that includes coach positioning and key safety controls. Consideration should be given to sample lesson plans for each apparatus and level.
4. Gymnastics Australia should conduct a training needs analysis and ensure that access to coach accreditation and professional development courses is available.
5. Gymnastics Australia should research and develop methods to assist gymnastics clubs to conduct risk assessments, specifically in the use of gymnastics apparatus.
6. Gymnastics Australia should review the Club 10 equipment maintenance policies and procedures with a view to achieving greater compliance with Club 10 documenting processes.
7. Gymnastics Australia should research and develop methods to assist gymnastics clubs in managing the risk of manual task injuries in gymnastics coaches.
8. Gymnastics Australia should review coach knowledge on spotting and provide additional guidance and training where required.
9. Gymnastics Australia should research the viability of a simple method to document skill progression of gymnasts, including any injuries suffered. This may vary for high level, competitive gymnasts and low level or recreational gymnasts.
This report needs be circulated to sports governing bodies worldwide. Leave a comment if you have ideas on how to make that happen. I’ll send it to some FIG committee members and Gymnastics Canada.
Update: As commenters have pointed out, an improvement to this report would be to better specify exactly what parts of the gym need be “padded”. In the past I’ve narrowed it down to pits and trampoline devices. But it should be broader than that.