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Abusive Young Athletes

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There’s a saying in sports to “leave it all on the field”. But a recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that’s not the case for some young athletes.

Teenage boys who play high contact, aggressive sports such as football and basketball are twice more likely than others to abuse their girlfriends.

The aggression and energy from the game can be taken home and directed towards loved ones, even family members.

“Certainly we have seen it in the past. It’s an on-going problem I think every coach nationwide has to address. A lot of times the athletes are too wrapped up in winning. The “win-at-all-costs” mentality,” said Burkburnett High School Athletic Director Danny Nix.

That mentality also identified as “hyper masculinity” is a concern for licensed psychologist Dr. Kim Robinson.

“What makes it a dangerous proposition is when they’re not able to draw that line from being on the field and into a relationship,” she said.

In many abusive cases, these aggressive behaviors are linked to high testosterone levels and are sparked from the comforts of their own home with their parents.

“If there is abuse at home, a person learns from a very young age that it’s okay for dad to beat mom. That it’s a male role,” said Dr. Robinson.

In order to reduce the risk of abuse, Nix makes sure his young athletes learn an important lesson.

“At the end of the day, celebrate a win and be able to accept the defeat. That carries over to being able to handle your aggressiveness on the athletic field,” he said.

If athletes still have trouble with violence and temper, finding a mentor is highly recommended.

“Mentors can help you understand how the athletes can make that shift, and that there’s a time and place for everything. They’ll navigate the difference between what they do on the field and what they do out in the real world,” said Dr. Robinson.

Not every athlete will abuse their significant other or family members. Each athlete is different, so each case has to be accessed individually.


Cynthia Kobayashi, Newschannel 6.