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The past year has brought on a new challenge for Swiss sport and the sports and exercise medicine (SEM) community. This is a global challenge that requires our unqualified attention. No, we are not talking about a virus, but rather about a much more insidious problem that plagues sports throughout the world: harassment and abuse.1
In June 2020, Swiss gymnasts came forward and reported abusive experiences in their training environment.2 Soon athletes from other sports followed, feeling empowered. Most troubling was that many of the athletes were minors at the time of the reported incidents.
While situations of harassment and abuse in sport had previously been uncovered, never had they stirred the country like this. The magnitude of the testimonies, and the fact that national media outlets quickly investigated further, led to a parliamentary response: action is required and athletes must count on a system that effectively safeguards them. Currently, independent investigations are underway.
A competitive cauldron of stress
Elite sport requires high levels of commitment and pushes athletes to test their physical and mental limits. Equally, the training environment necessitates focus and discipline. Inevitably, athletes suffer from mental stress, illness …
Twitter @drsportsante, @JoelleFlueck
Correction notice This article has been corrected since it published Online First. The acknowledgement statement has been added.
Contributors BG conceived the editorial. All authors contributed to the development of the editorial and reviewed the final text.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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