US Lacrosse recently announced two new mandatory requirements to help keep all lacrosse players safe from sexual predators: free background checks for coaches and online training through the USOC’s SafeSport initiative. Both of these programs will help to make it harder for child predators to access the kids we work with as coaching members of US Lacrosse. 

My role on the field as a girls’ coach brings me so much happiness and is enjoyably distant, both logistically and emotionally, from my off-field role as the Title IX Coordinator at the University of Indianapolis. I work daily with students who have been victims of sexual assault, sexual violence, harassment and other tough issues. 

Students who have gone through these traumatic experiences have difficulties with school, with relationships, with mental health, alcohol and drug abuse, and more. These students, and our lacrosse players, deserve adults in their lives who are looking out for their health and safety, both present and future. 

Part of my role as the Title IX coordinator is to stay on top of the latest news, laws, and court decisions regarding Title IX; continuing my education past my law school courses and my lived experiences being involved in Title IX work for the past 11 years. 

As a coach-development trainer with US Lacrosse, I help both new and experienced coaches improve their skills in order to ensure a fun experience for their young athletes. A constant theme amongst my colleagues within the training development program is that we learn something new with every clinic we teach. The clinics serve as continuing education. 

For coaches who are experienced with X’s and O’s, as well as those who have strong and appropriate personal relationships with their players, it may seem unnecessary to participate in the background check or the SafeSport training, but think of it as continuing education. Continuing to learn is what we are constantly asking of our players and it is something that they should expect from us, as their coaches.

Understanding the common-sense rules and guidelines about interacting with players can benefit you in many ways. It could certainly help to keep you from being in a situation that could be construed in the wrong way, and potentially help to avoid a long, drawn out criminal and civil litigation that could cost you your life savings, your reputation, and perhaps even your freedom. Secondly, it will provide parents with a greater sense of comfort about having you as their child’s coach.  

So please take seriously your role as a coach and take the time to participate in the background check and SafeSport training. If not for the protection of young athletes, at least do it for your own protection.  

Anne Moelk, Esq. is a US Lacrosse certified coach and also serves as a trainer in the US Lacrosse Coach Development Program.
 

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