Coaches are often seen as role models to children. They have a huge impact on young athletes, and most of them do a great job shaping a kid’s attitude, behavior, and character. Unfortunately, several cases have come to light involving children being abused by their sports coaches in recent years, and we think it’s an important subject to discuss.
Sadly, children are abused by coaches more often than the public realizes, as many abused children are too embarrassed to tell anyone. Sometimes even parents are hesitant to report allegations of child abuse. Unfortunately, neglecting to report child abuse by a coach only enables (and encourages) these predators to continue to harm more children.
Types of Child Abuse Committed by Coaches
Child abuse by football coaches (or basketball coaches, baseball coaches, wrestling coaches, etc) takes several forms, but generally falls under the category of either emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.
Emotional abuse is the most difficult to detect because it carries no outward signs (as physical abuse often does). Emotional abuse, while leaving no physical scars, leaves emotional ones which often require help from a professional. While many people don’t think of harassment as a type of child abuse, it can be very damaging to a child’s psyche.
Physical abuse is generally the most-obvious type of child abuse, but outward signs of physical abuse can be hard to differentiate from sports-related injuries. Additionally, many young football players can be hesitant to speak out as they don’t want to be perceived as “weak” by their peers.
Sexual abuse, on the other hand, may or may not have any outward signs. When outward signs do exist, they are often confined to private areas. As a parent, you need to be aware of the signs of sexual abuse in children, and keep an open dialogue with your child about any concerns you have (changes in behavior, etc).
Neglect is another form of child abuse common to football coaches. Neglect can take many forms, including:
- Forcing athletes to play in spite of injuries.
- Using equipment that is inadequate, unsafe, or in a state of poor maintenance.
- Road trips without proper supervision.
- Allowing teammates to bully one another.
Sex Abuse Scandal at Penn State
One very notable case of a child sex abuse scandal occurred at at Penn State. It involved former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was charged and convicted of multiple counts of sexual abuse involving children. Several Penn State officials were also implicated and questioned as to whether they had failed in their moral, legal, and ethical duty to report their suspicions of child abuse.
Sandusky was indicted in early November 2011 on 52 counts of child molestation. Three school officials, including both the school president and director of athletics, were charged with several offenses, including:
- Obstruction of justice
- Failing to report suspicions of child abuse
- Other related charges
Penn State was later sued in civil court by 26 men who claimed to have been abused by Sandusky. All of these cases were eventually settled out of court for over $59 million.
You Have the Right to Seek Justice
Even if you’ve reported the abuse to police but criminal charges were never filed, you may absolutely still have a valid civil claim and can bring a lawsuit. Your child’s personal injury claim is unrelated to the abuser’s criminal status, and our attorneys are happy to discuss your situation free of charge. We can advise you of your rights, explain your options, and help you recover the compensation that your son or daughter deserves. Call our child abuse attorneys today at 1-877-403-9378, or email us using the contact form found on this page.