Victims of sexual abuse continue to speak out in the trial of former USA Olympian gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. This case raises big concerns for any parent, so Arizona's Family spoke with the owner of a local youth sports facility about precautions parents can take.
Rush Sports Performance training facility for young athletes in north Phoenix installed 24 security cameras, decided not to add any showers or locker rooms and have two adults on staff at all times. The goal is to create a safe environment for the kids and teens who come here.
"Unfortunately it’s not a shock anymore. We’ve heard so many stories of long time coaches abusing their position of authority and trust," said Ed Hisey, Rush Sports Performance owner and head coach.
With more than 100 victims sharing their stories of the sex abuse from Nassar, many people have been sounding off on our AZ Family Facebook live streams about the case.
Kathy Perry wrote, "How did this continue for so long? Did these girls know what he did was wrong at the time? Sounds like parents are to blame here for not educating their children."
Hisey, who is a father himself, offers advice to other parents, "I think it’s important that parents stay involved. They need to stay at practice. If a coach is asking them to stay later and there’s nobody there, that’s a major red flag."
He stresses parents keep open communication about inappropriate innuendos and touching, and look for changes in their kids’ behavior, dress and academics.
"If you have a child that’s normally outgoing, very social and suddenly they become withdrawn, maybe they’re spending more time in their bedroom, they don’t like to talk to strangers, they’re not interacting with their friends, that’s normally a sign of guilt or shame or possibly even fear," said Hisey.
Parents should also take the time to get to know their coaches, physical therapists and doctors.
"As a bare minimum, they should be going through a background check. They should be vetted before they’re allowed to be a coach. As a parent, you have every right to ask to see that background check," said Hisey.
For more information on the signs of child sexual abuse, go to Childhelp of Arizona.
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