How parents of young athletes can help prevent sexual abuse

How parents of young athletes can help prevent sexual abuse

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Doctor Larry Nassar's sentencing Wednesday may be raising some questions for parents of young athletes, such as how can parents or guardians help prevent their child from being victims of sexual abuse in the world of sports?

Doctor Ryan Szepiela is a Sports Medicine Specialist with ProMedica. He says one of the most important steps parents and guardians can take is to have open conversations with their young athletes.

"They've got a lot more sense of what's right and wrong a lot of times than kids you know," Szpeiela said. "Even if you see a child at an appointment, they can go home and none of it gets relayed back to the parents."

Szepiela adds staying in the know is vital and suggests that parents watch practice, attend doctors appointments and physical therapy sessions with their children.

"When we see younger kids, females or males, the parents stay inside of the room, they are there for the entirety of it," Szepiela explained.

Sports Medicine Specialists have to go through an Accreditation Board Fellowship after their Residency. It is an extra year or two of training to be certified to take care of athletes. A physician will have certification proof on his or her card, badge and website.

"You can go onto the State Medical Board of Ohio and can see a practitioners license and if it's in tact or if there's been anything against it," Szepiela said.

If something seems off, Szepiela urges parents to ask questions. If a practice facility or physician seems questionable, those red flags should not be ignored.

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