A victim of abuse. Research shows athletes are often reluctant to report abuse. (Pixabay File)

A victim of abuse. Research shows athletes are often reluctant to report abuse. (Pixabay File)

New app provides pathway for young athletes to report abuse

App launched in US four months ago already received 40 reports of abuse

After disturbing revelations around the world of young athletes suffering abuse, a new app, Player’s Health Protect, has been developed to provide a discreet pathway to report abuse and misconduct instantly and privately.

Developed by former Calgary Stampeders wide-receiver Tyrre Burks, the app was launched in the U.S. four months ago and the company says it has grown to 70,000 users. They also say that during this time, 40 documented abuse incidents have been reported, with 35 of them actionable.

Reports are handled at the company by an independent SafeSport Coordinator. If a report from a user is sexual in nature, it is sent to authorities within 24 hours and if it is not, “due diligence is done” and sent to “the authority within the organizations” to be investigated. The company say all data is confidential and uses industry best practices.

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The app is one element of Burks’ larger company called Player’s Health and forms “part of a suite of risk management software created to support the holistic health of amateur athletes.”

Player’s Health also caters for the well-being of athletes in other areas such as injury prevention and management, in a way similar to the data driven approach favoured by professional sports teams. They are also developing staff screening services for administrators to use.

Recently launched in Canada, the platform’s injury management tool is called Player’s Health Rehab, which monitors and tracks injuries and treatment, in an effort for young athletes to avoid burn-out or more severe injuries.

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Player’s Health is free to amateur sports organizations, schools and athletes.

The company says that because phones are often the favoured tool of communication for children, it makes sense to have a reporting app on their phone. “The Player’s Health Protect app was developed to provide an anonymous solution for athletes to report threats, hazing, and abuse that sometimes occur without notice,” a statement from Player’s Health said.

“Our primary mission is the safety of young athletes,” says Tyrre Burks, CEO of Player’s Health. “I love everything about sports and what I love about sports isn’t what we are seeing in the headlines right now. I want to remove the darkness in sport and make it a great experience for everyone. As an athlete, parent and coach I have witnessed first hand how difficult some of these challenges can be and developed these tools in response to my own experiences.”

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Michelle Peterson, an expert in sport organization abuse prevention and who advises the company, says that often policies and procedures aren’t enough for young people to report abuse.

“There are just too many obstacles to overcome. Kids are on their phones all the time,” she says. “This is a tool they use, so it’s easier for them to report.” Peterson notes that often athletes are reluctant to report abuse for fear of their careers being derailed by the abuser or enablers. She says research suggests youth often don’t report abuse directly, with most reports coming from parents or once they have grown into adulthood.

For additional information visit playershealth.com.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

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