Kevin Sinfield backs groundbreaking project to prevent abuse in young sport stars

Abuse in young sport stars has hit the headlines in recent years following the revelation from a number of past sportsmen and sportswomen about historic abuse from old coaches.

One such sportsman has been former Blackpool and Tottenham Hotspur footballer Paul Stewart, whose own experience was put down into words in his book Damaged.

He has now gone about raising awareness and trying to ensure his harrowing story of abuse does not become the story of other youngsters after baring all at an event back in 2019.

He said: “I suffered physical and sexual abuse every day for four years and that included Christmas Day,” the Blackpool Gazette revealed from the event.

“As a young lad, I just didn’t know what to do. He threatened to kill my family. When we went on a football trip to the USA he made sure one of my brothers came along.”

As such, Stewart has launched his own course, in tandem with the NSPCC, that “provides sports coaches, parents and volunteers with the tools to be able to identify and prevent abusive behaviours in grassroots sports, as well as understanding and implementing the recommended safeguarding procedures around the above points,” the Blackpool Gazette has reported.

That follows the revelation that 32% of parents do not know whether or not their child’s sports coaches have had the necessary safeguarding training, with a tenth of parents admitting that they are unsure of identifying the signs of abuse.

Among those supporting the groundbreaking project is none other than rugby league hero Kevin Sinfield whose commitment to improving society knows no bounds.

Sinfield himself has been the target of increasing adulation in recent months following his two extreme marathon attempts for his friend Rob Burrow, a sufferer of Motor Neurone Disease, with plans for more fundraising events not ruled out either.

The former Leeds Rhinos star has given his backing to Stewart’s project following Sinfield’s own move into the charity field with Rugby League Cares.

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