Blog: Students explore integrity in sport
Sport has many health and lifestyle benefits for young people. It teaches children social skills, as well as the values of honesty, teamwork, fair play, respect for themselves and others, and adherence to rules. Sport also equips them with the skills to deal with competition and how to cope with both winning and losing.
The flip side to the benefits is the pressure many young people face to be the best at sport. To achieve this status can often lead young people down the slippery path of performance and image-enhancing drugs.
In a speech in 2015, former WADA Director General, David Howman said we are facing a social problem of steroids in schools, as well as other areas of society. Howman told his audience young people are taking steroids in a bid to look good. This message aligned with a finding WADA reported in 2014 when they revealed steroid abuse is increasing among young athletes aged between 14 to 18 years.
With research showing that attitudes and values are shaped at a young age it is becoming increasingly important to step-up the education of people in this age group. Today the Minister for Health and Aged Care and Minister for Sport, Sussan Ley MP, launched a suite of lesson plans to help high school students discover sports integrity through topics like doping, match-fixing and illicit drug use.
The lesson plans were jointly developed by ASADA and the National Integrity of Sport Unit in response to changes to the national Health and Physical Education curriculum earlier this year. The plans have been designed so teachers can use them ‘off the shelf’. Our hope is that most schools will start using the plans by 2017.
Society’s role is to protect the health and development of our young people. To succeed educators, parents and government have a shared role to play in promoting the benefits of sport through positive educational outcomes. These lesson plans are not an antidote to young people taking shortcuts, but they do convey to students a health message within the broader importance of integrity in sport.