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Violence in youth sports: hazing, brawling and foul play
  1. S K Fields1,
  2. C L Collins2,
  3. R D Comstock2,3
  1. 1
    The Ohio State University, College of Education, School of Physical Activity and Educational Services, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  2. 2
    Center for Injury Research and Policy, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  3. 3
    The Ohio State University, College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics and College of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology, Ohio, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr R D Comstock, Center for Injury Research and Policy, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University, 700 Children’s Drive, Columbus, OH 43205, USA; dawn.comstock{at}


By separating hazing, brawling, and foul play and failing to recognise that their connection to sport binds them together into a cohesive subset of sport injury and youth violence, past research has failed to show how sports-related violence is a broad example of interpersonal violence. The acceptance of violence within the sporting culture may, in part, explain why sports-related violence has not yet been widely recognised as a public health concern. This review shows that sports-related violence, including hazing, brawling and foul play, occurs among youth athletes of all ages and in a variety of different sports. The few studies to address this issue have all acknowledged the dangers of sports-related violence; however, no incident tracking method has been developed. Future research must provide accurate national estimates of the incidence of sports-related violence among youth, identify associated risk factors, evaluate preventive interventions and identify effective methods of distributing and implementing evidence-based interventions. Monitoring the magnitude and distribution of the burden of sports-related violence and building the scientific infrastructure necessary to support the development and widespread application of effective sports-related prevention interventions are essential first steps toward a reduction in the incidence of sports-related violence.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and Peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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