Blog: Helping parents keep children safe in sport

3 April 2019


The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) recognises the crucial role parents play in helping children achieve their sporting goals and also in protecting their children from the potential pitfalls.

ASADA CEO David Sharpe says the pressure to train hard, compete and achieve at the highest level “can lead young athletes to think about taking dangerous shortcuts”.

That is why ASADA, in partnership with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Play by the Rules, have developed the Parents’ Guide to Support Clean Sport, an online anti-doping course to help parents ensure healthy athletic development and prevent the use of performance enhancing drugs.

“The course is designed to help parents enhance their children’s knowledge of how to protect themselves in their sport or career,” Mr Sharpe says. “ASADA encourages parents to be the consistent voice in promoting safety, good health, integrity, balance and enjoyment of clean sport, while also teaching them respect for and appreciation of the true spirit of sport.”

The course covers topics such as healthy sport cultures, nutrition, the risks of supplements and doping risk factors, and includes links to websites where parents can find further useful information.

WADA’s Director of Education and Communications Catherine Maclean says the resource is relevant to parents of all levels of athletes from beginner to elite.

“Parents need to be aware of what the issues are and what the health impacts are so they can better inform their children and answer their questions. Research shows that parents are frequently the one constant throughout the athlete’s career, which serves to highlight the importance of them being fully informed of issues related to clean sport.”

The course is hosted on both ASADA’s eLearning platform and on Play by the Rules, to ensure it has as great a reach as possible to Australian parents.

Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer says the collaboration aligns perfectly with their initiative which focuses on child safe sport.

“Parents need a range of strategies in place to keep children safe in sport,” Palmer says. “The more education and strategies we can give them the better.”

The online course is available on the ASADA or Play by the Rules websites.

It is also supported by a hardcopy resource available to parents around Australia, published on ASADA’s website here.