Larry Nassar was a USA gymnastics national team doctor for approximately 18 years. In 2015, USA Gymnastics cut ties with Nassar after athletes from the USA gymnastics national team came forward with concerns. It was brought to the USA Gymnastics committees’ attention that Nassar had sexually assaulted many of the women that had been a part of the USA Gymnastics team.
Since the scandal arose in September 2016, more than 250 women from the gymnastics community have come forward and accused Nassar of sexual assault. Many of the athletes blame USA gymnastics for the misconduct.
Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles is among the numerous athletes that were sexually assaulted by Nassar. She blames USA gymnastics for the assault saying that they failed to protect their athletes from such a circumstance.
This article made me wonder why the athletes hid their sexual assault for so long. After looking into this topic, it appears that in many sports the high-status coaches, trainers and medical teams go without consequence with abuse and misconduct purely because their athletes feel trapped and they fear the consequences of reporting the abuse. One can only hope that this “widespread fear of challenging powerful coaches” can be overcome.
Fortunately, USA Gymnastics has taken a number of steps including updating its policies around sexual, physical and emotional abuse, as well as making it easier to report such misconduct. This will hopefully protect future USA Gymnastics athletes from any form of assault and make it easier to report an assault if it occurs.
Featured Image: USA gymnastics olympic team member Simone Biles (Source:Biography.com)