US swimming approves new background screening measures

background checks, approving new measures intended to ensure the safety and protection of their swimmers. All non-athlete members of USA Swimming must now pass a criminal background check – a move that will extend to around 30,000 individuals. Also, anyone who interacts with swimmers must become a member of USA Swimming. The background screenings will be required every two years, and will go in effect January 1st 2011. Coaches are also now prohibited from giving rub-downs to swimmers, even if they are licensed massage therapists, and must have the permission of parents or guardians before they can visit the swimmer at home. It is re-assuring to see such a prominent organization take these steps, even though it took a sexual abuse scandal in order for it to do so. As the saying goes, “better late than never”, and hopefully this new legislation will protect swimmers from potential sexual abuse happening again. It would be good to see other nationwide sports groups following a similar path – perhaps to see some changes in their pre-employment background screening process before something bad happens, and not after.]]>

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