Bullying in Sports

Bullying in Sports


It is unfortunate that one of the chief ways kids make friends, by playing on sports teams, is also a significant source of bullying trauma.

In this blog, Thomas Inkelaar, Nebraska’s leading anti-bullying lawyer, addresses the steps that parents can take to prevent and address bullying behavior

Bullying during athletic events can be troublesome because brutal bullying behavior can co-exist with traditional sport competition

Bullying in Sports

Bullying is any behavior that consciously, deliberately and repeatedly harasses a student with the intent to hurt them or threaten to hurt them.

Because many sports that children play allow for some degree of content, the threat of a physical altercation is high as is the level of intimidation that bullied athletes experience.

Whether a student-athlete is being bullied by a coach, or another player, it is important that they learn to speak up.

Bullying behavior can happen before, during and after practice events or actual games. Bullying behavior in the athletic context can include:

  • Yelling or screaming
  • Blaming an athlete for mistakes
  • Verbal threats
  • Physical assaults
  • Using practice sessions or actual games as opportunities to create damage
  • Taking credit for accomplishments
  • Lying about the student’s performance

The bullying behaviors listed above are among the more common forms of bullying in sports, but the list is by no means exhaustive. Parents must pay attention to how a child feels on the way to practice and games and on the way home to identify the particular words and acts of others that may be harming the student-athlete.

Anti-Bullying Advice for Parents

It is very important to talk to student-athletes about the steps they can take to protect themselves on the field and off the field when they encounter bullying behavior.

Parents, teachers and other adults will not always be at hand to intervene when bullying occurs. By empowering athletes with a set of strategies to challenge, report and address bullying behavior, parents can radically increase a child’s confidence levels.

At the same time, parents who talk to their kids about how to address bullying behavior in advance will also decrease the likelihood that bullying behavior will go ignored or unaddressed.

Parents should caution their children to:

  • Trust their instincts
  • Identify
  • Carry the phone number of a bullying hotline
  • Identify and keep in touch with safe adults and students
  • Keep track of bullying

Having regular conversations with kids is essential, remaining in contact with coaches and other support staff is also key to creating an environment where kids feel free to name bullying behavior for what it is.

Experienced Anti-Bullying Lawyer

Inkelaar Law, a personal injury law firm founded by Thomas Inkelaar, helps parents, families, communities and school administrators address bullying behavior in a comprehensive manner.

Legally, bullying victims deserve justice and schools and school administrators who neglect student safety need to be held accountable. On the other hand, true justice means changing the conditions that make bullying possible in school and athletic settings for all students and not just the ones that the firm represents.

To this end, Thomas Inkelaar, one of the leading anti-bullying injury lawyers in Nebraska, has committed his legal practice to helping parents and schools solve bullying once and for all.

If your child has been bullied and injured, call 1-877-537-4665 to discuss how the legal system can help.