The government’s Duty of Care in Sport Review, led by Baroness Grey Thompson, has been released today (21 April). The aim of the review, launched in 2016, was to develop a comprehensive plan for how government and the whole sporting system more effectively looks after participants, whether at grassroots or elite level, including those on the talent pathway. The review covers a series of themes (education, transition, safeguarding, mental welfare, equality, the participant’s voice, and safety, injury and medical issues) and has led to a list of priority recommendations.
Tim Lawler, SportsAid's Chief Executive, said: "Baroness Grey-Thompson's thorough work in producing this Duty of Care Review is both timely and welcome. It is clearly relevant to the current debate and concerns around ensuring a positive and supportive experience for sports people, especially those in a performance environment. It is perhaps even more important for younger sports people who are just embarking on their journey in sport. It is from this perspective that the SportsAid and Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) teams are considering the review.
“There will always be a next generation emerging with sporting ambitions. Everyone working in sport owes these young talented athletes a fair chance to reach for their personal best and to enjoy the experience. SportsAid and TASS, through the support of Sport England, enable, encourage and empower talented young sports people at the beginning of their careers as they start to move through the talent pathway. The approach of SportsAid and TASS is to support the wellbeing of young athletes, developing their sporting prospects alongside their education.
"Having a positive experience and achieving successful results should not be considered as mutually exclusive outcomes. Providing young athletes with the additional tools and opportunities they can use to maximise their potential in both sport and education is key. Better equipping them as they progress through the talent pathway, surrounded by the right support network and benefitting from engaging in social activities, gives them greater independence and a broader understanding and outlook to be able to flourish in their sporting and educational endeavours."
SportsAid and TASS, which is managed by the charity for Sport England, are now considering the review and how they can contribute towards supporting the recommendations made by Baroness Grey-Thompson. In the meantime, it is important to note a strong emphasis has been placed on education and dual careers with reference made to the Talented Athlete Lifestyle Support (TALS) and Talented Athlete Support in Transitions and Education (TASTE) training developed and delivered by TASS. This recognition will ultimately benefit the student-athletes using the enhanced service.
Guy Taylor, the National Scheme Director for TASS, added: “We’re confident that academic achievement and sporting success can go hand in hand. As a part of our established dual career programme for student-athletes, TASS delivers regular Lifestyle support to more than 400 youngsters every year with a focus on prevention over cure. What’s more, we’re proud to make a positive contribution towards developing talented scholars into happy and successful young people.”
You can read the full version of the government’s Duty of Care in Sport Review here.