Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Athlete Protection Officer Susan Woessner gives a carefully parsed interview to Swimming World - Some good news therein!

Generally speaking I do not like the way USA Swimming conducts their business; especially their finances, but I am satisfied with how efficient they are in declaring an offending coach radioactive.

USA Swimming's Athlete Protection Officer Susan Woessner; (visualize Sharon Stone from the film: The Quick and the Dead"), gives a highly measured, highly parsed interview to Swimming World. However, it does contain good news. Though the article is mostly talking points this paragraph not only shows promise but could be a turning point for the sport:

Swimming World Magazine:

What do you think needs to be improved upon for Athlete Protection, and what do you think is really working the best?

Ensuring the full membership understands all aspects of the Athlete Protection program has been challenging and some aspects of the program have taken time to develop. Next week we are launching an online athlete protection education program, the completion of which is a mandatory part of membership. We will also be launching an age-appropriate education program for our 300,000 athletes and their parents later this fall.

To develop the program, we partnered with Praesidium, the leading child protection education organization in the country. Education is the cornerstone of our athlete protection effort, and this piece of programming is an integral part of our efforts further empower our membership to be advocates for safe sport.

Awareness of the need for athlete protection programs is high. We see this through many channels. Clubs are using the athlete protection section of our website as a resource. 30,000 non-athlete members have completed our augmented background checks. Clubs are also embracing the pre-employment screening guidelines and our members are willing to use our reporting structure to call out inappropriate behavior.

I am thrilled by this news. It's my belief that this is a significant step to winning the battle against pedophile coaches but why did it take something so obvious, and so inexpensive to implement some two-years to create?

Nonetheless, I am glad it's happening.


Cliff Murray said...

I will also reserve total judgement until the program is unveiled, but have you visited the Praesidium website? To say that they are inflammatory would be an understatement. I am dubious of the latest USA Swimming partnership...for the time being.

Edward said...

As an official, I just took this course so that I can renew for 2012. I was initially skeptical, but found it to be very informative and helpful.

My daughter swims in the same zone in the same LSC as the most recent coach scandal (in Oakland) and I am un-nerved by the whole affair. She has friends on that team and it was one we were considering for her next team.

This course is an actual good start to getting parents, coaches, etc involved in how to watch for inappropriate behavior. I wish it were required for all athletes' parents instead of just coaches and officials.