Table 4

Neglect: classifications, constituents and examples in sport

Relational maltreatmentClassificationsConstituentsExamples in sport
NeglectPhysical neglect
  • Refusal of healthcare

  • Refusing an athlete recovery time and/or treatment for a sport injury

  • Delay in healthcare

  • Delaying medical assessment/treatment of a sport injury until the completion of a competition

  • Abandonment

  • Abandonment of an athlete as punishment for poor performance (eg, departure of a parent/coach mid-competition, leaving an athlete to fend for themself)

  • Expulsion

  • Expulsion of an athlete from the team travel bus when away without any regard for how that athlete will return home from competition

  • Inadequate supervision

  • Inadequate supervision of an athlete during travel, training or competition

  • Inadequate spotting of an athlete on skills of foreseeable risk

  • Inadequate nutrition, clothing or hygiene

  • Prescribed dieting or other weight control methods (eg, weigh-ins, caliper tests) without regard for the nutritional well-being and health of the athlete

  • Inattention to avoidable hazards

  • Failure to ensure the safety of athletic equipment

  • Permitted drug or alcohol abuse

  • Disregarding/encouraging/enabling the use of performance-enhancing drugs by an athlete

  • Disregarding the use/abuse of alcohol or tobacco in conjunction with athletic events or celebrations

  • Other forms of reckless physical disregard for a person’s well-being

  • Driving with an athlete while intoxicated

  • Encouraging an athlete to return to play prematurely following a concussion or injury

  • Encouraging an athlete to perform a skill for which he/she is not developmentally ready

  • Awareness of harm resulting from a delay in maturation and encouraging an athlete to perform activities that may enhance this harm

Educational neglect
  • Permitted/encouraged chronic truancy

  • Encouraging an athlete to miss classes for training/competition

  • Failure to enrol or other truancy

  • Encouraging an athlete to cease education for training/competition

  • Inattention to special education need

  • Discourage/disallow an athlete appropriate time to study or prepare for educational requirements

  • Failure to consider an athlete’s special education needs during training (eg, writing out training instructions for an illiterate athlete with no verbal explanation)

Emotional neglect
  • Inadequate nurturing or affection

  • An unintentional chronic lack of attention or performance feedback that would be reasonably expected by an athlete (eg, ignoring less successful athletes during training or competition)

  • Chronic or extreme spouse abuse/domestic violence

  • Chronic exposure of an athlete to violence among authorities in sport (eg, coach arguing/fighting with other coaches/parents/officials)

  • Refusal of psychological care

  • Refusing psychological counselling of an athlete exhibiting disordered eating symptoms or any other perceived psychological distress

  • Delay in psychological care

  • Delaying psychological care of an athlete

Social neglect
  • Inattention to social needs

  • Chronic exclusion of an athlete from team social events

  • Prohibited/discouraged social relations

  • Discouraging an athlete from having friendships with teammates/persons outside sport

  • Chronic rejection

  • Chronic unrealistic performance expectations

  • Permitted maladaptive behaviour (where the care giver has reason to be aware of the existence and seriousness of the problem and does not intervene)

  • Allowing an athlete to disregard sport’s rules, regulations, and standards

  • Failure of a coach/parent to intervene when made aware of maladaptive athlete behaviour (eg, vandalism of another team’s banner/facility)

  • In order for the described behaviours to be defined as relational maltreatment, they must occur within a critical relationship.