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Abusers risk in child sports.

CHILD abusers may be seeking refuge in the world of sport where they can prey on young athletes from behind a ``wall of silence'', two experts claimed today.

Doctors involved in sports medicine were urged to watch out for the warning signs of paedophile abuse - such as a youngster's subdued and inhibited demeanour, signs of disordered eating, or an adult in charge appearing ``a little too dominating''.

Prof Celia Brackenridge, of Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education and Dr Rod Jaques from Winfield Hospital, Gloucester, identified a child abuse danger point in sport called the ``stage of imminent achievement''.

This was when a young athlete had most to lose by leaving his or her sport and everything to gain by complying with the demands of the coach and other authority figures.

If it coincided with puberty, the risks were enhanced.

Writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine the experts said although most reported cases of child abuse in sport involved coaches, they added that administrators, parents, senior athletes and medical staff represented an additional risk.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 10, 1999
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