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SafeSport & Safety Initiatives

Safety Requirement Tracking Sheet – last updated 9/9/20

USABA is committed to providing athletes a safe and secure playing environment.  Towards this commitment, all coaches, staff members, team point of contacts (POC), tournament directors, USABA referees and athletes training at a designated Olympic/Paralympic Training Site are required to complete the following training listed below.

Starting on January 1, 2020, applicable individuals will be considered an Inactive Member until all of the safety requirements below have been completed. Once completed, this individual’s membership status will be changed to an Active Member. A posted public spreadsheet of non-athletes membership status’ will be posted and updated weekly on the USABA website.

The USABA membership, Concussion Safety, SafeSport and Background Check requirements listed below are required for the following individuals participating at a USABA-sanctioned event or tournament. An individual who fails to complete these items before the start of a USABA-sanctioned event or tournament will be ineligible to participate or attend that event or tournament.

  1. Coaches: Any individual who is listed as a coach on approved rosters and sits on the bench or stands in the coaches’ box during the course of the game.
  2. Staff Members: Any USABA staff member, contractor or board member from the national goalball program and the national office.
  3. Team Point of Contact (POC): For goalball teams that do not have a designated coach, a POC is an individual selected by the team to receive tournament communication on behalf of the team. The POC must be in attendance for the tournament.
  4. Tournament Directors: Any individual who is responsible for coordinating a USABA-sanctioned event or tournament as selected by USABA staff.
  5. USABA Referees: Any referee selected as a lead official for a USABA-sanctioned tournament as selected by the USABA Referee Coordinator.
  6. Training Site Athletes: Any athlete who trains at a designated Olympic/Paralympic Training Site for a USABA program.

Every team must have at least one Coach or POC with completed safety requirements at each USABA-sanctioned event or tournament the team attends. The pool team POC will either be; a) the tournament director or b) another certified coach or staff designated by the tournament director.

a. CDC Concussion in Sports Course: CDC Concussion in Sports Course provided by the National Federation of State High Schools: https://nfhslearn.com/courses/concussion-in-sports-2. This course can be taken in about 30 minutes and must be completed every two years. To complete this training, select your home state from the dropdown menu and click “Order Course”. The course is free in all states. Please send completion certificates to Cat Bouwkamp at cbouwkamp@usaba.org and save a copy for your own records.

b. US Center for Safesport Training:

STARTING October 15, 2020, ALL SAFESPORT TRAINING WILL NOW BE VALID FOR ONE YEAR ONLY. THIS IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH NEW USOPC AND SAFESPORT POLICIES. The initial Safesport training course takes approximately 2 hours to complete. After the first year of the initial training has been completed, individuals must complete an annual Refresher course which takes approximately 30 minutes.  Refresher courses can be found in your Safesport profile using the same login credentials submitted to complete the initial training.

Safe Sport Registration Directions:

Go to https://safesport.org/authentication/register

Input name, email and password for your account.  Once complete, select the ‘Next’ button;

On the following page, populate all required fields.  The final field is Membership.  Select ‘Add Membership’;

You will be prompted to choose an organization from a dropdown menu.  Select the second organization in the list, titled ‘U.S. Association of Blind Athletes’;

After making the selection, you will be asked to provide an Access Code. To receive this Access Code, please email Cat Bouwkamp at cbouwkamp@usaba.org with the subject line ‘SafeSport Access Code’ and in the body of the email please indicate your full name and your role and/or reason for taking the course.

You will be returned to the original form.  Ensure that all required fields are complete and select the Save button;

In order to finalize your account, proceed to your email that you provided during the registration process.  In your email inbox will be an email from Safe Sport to confirm your email address;

Open the email and select the ‘Confirm Email Address’ link;

This will bring you back to the SafeSport sign-in page.  Enter your username and password;

After signing in, you’ll enter your SafeSport Learning Dashboard, your hub for accessing and viewing all relevant training;

Once you have completed the entire SafeSport Training, go to the bottom of your Learning Dashboard and download your certificate of completion in the SafeSport Trained section for your records.

c. Criminal Background Checks by the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI):

Submit your background check through NCSI: https://www.ncsisafe.com/Members/SelfRegBatchCode.aspx

Enter registration code 57781791 and follow on-screen directions to submit your background check.  The background check verification process can take up to 7-10 business days and a clear and current check must be verified before the tournament start date. Unlike in past years, USABA will not accept any outside background checks. Background checks are valid for 2 years from the approval date and cost $30.

United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) Athlete Safety Policy

Download the USABA Athlete Safety Policy updated on May 13, 2020.


To establish a United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) policy that assures a safe environment for athletes and others who participate in our programs.

Policy Statement:

USABA is committed to the safety and well-being of all athletes and others who participate in our programs.  This will be accomplished by creating a safe and positive environment that is free of misconduct to include bullying, hazing, harassment (including sexual harassment), emotional misconduct and physical misconduct. USABA’s commitment extends to our role as a membership organization (including a training site in Fort Wayne, Indiana), as a United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) Multi-Sport Organization and as the USOPC High-Performance Management Organization for the sport of goalball.  This policy supports the SafeSport Code for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements.

Along with this commitment, USABA establishes the following policy that applies to our employees, contractual staff, coaches, USABA referees, guides, pilots and athletes USABA designates for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) required testing pool (RTP). These tips and guidelines from the USOPC are also helpful in navigating SafeSport.

1. Prohibited Conduct:
a. Bullying
i. An intentional, persistent and repeated pattern of committing or willfully tolerating physical and non-physical behaviors that are intended, or have the reasonable potential, to cause fear, humiliation or physical harm in an attempt to socially exclude, diminish or isolate the targeted athlete(s), as a condition of membership; or
ii. Any act or conduct described as bullying under federal or state law.
b. Hazing
i. Coercing, requiring, forcing, or willfully tolerating any humiliating, unwelcome or dangerous activity that serves as a condition for (a) joining a group or (b) being socially accepted by a group’s members; or
ii. Any act or conduct described as hazing under federal or state law.
c. Harassment (Including Sexual Harassment)
i. A repeated pattern of physical and/or non-physical behaviors that (a) is intended to cause fear, humiliation or annoyance, (b) offend or degrade, (c) create a hostile environment, or (d) reflect discriminatory bias in an attempt to establish dominance, superiority or power over an individual athlete or group based on gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression or mental or physical disability; or
ii. Any act or conduct described as harassment under federal or state law.
d. Emotional Misconduct
i. A pattern of deliberate, non-contact behavior that has the potential to cause emotional or psychological harm to an athlete.  Non-contact behaviors include (a) verbal acts (b) physical acts (c) acts that deny attention or support.
ii. Any act or conduct as emotional abuse or misconduct under federal or state law (e.g., child abuse, child neglect).
e. Physical Misconduct
i. Contact or non-contact that results in, or reasonably threatens to, cause physical harm to an athlete or other sports participants; or
ii. Any act or conduct described as physical abuse or misconduct under federal or state law (e.g., child abuse, child neglect, assault).
f. Sexual Misconduct
i. Any touching or non-touching sexual interaction that is (a) nonconsensual or forced, (b) coerced or manipulated, or (c) perpetrated in an aggressive, harassing, exploitative or threatening manner;
ii. Any sexual interaction between an athlete and an individual with evaluative, direct or indirect authority.  Such relationships involve an imbalance of power and are likely to impair judgment or be exploitative; or
iii. Any act or conduct described as sexual abuse or misconduct under federal or state law (e.g., sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, rape).

Note:  An imbalance of power is always assumed between a coach and an athlete.

Additional details regarding each type of misconduct described above can be found in the SafeSport Code for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement.

Additionally, prohibited misconduct shall include, without limitation, the following:

Romantic or sexual relationships, which began during the sports relationship, between athletes and or other participants and those individuals (i) with direct supervisory or evaluative control, or (ii) are in a position of power and trust over the athlete or other participants.  Except in circumstances where no imbalance of power exists, coaches have this direct supervisory or evaluative control and are in a position of power and trust over those athletes or participants they coach.
The prohibition on romantic or sexual relationships does not include those relationships where it can be demonstrated there is no imbalance of power.  For example, this prohibition does not apply to a pre-existing relationship between two spouses or life partners.

2. Criminal Background Checks:

USABA shall require criminal background checks, at least every two years, for all employed and contracted staff and volunteers who are in a position over, or have frequent contact with athlete participants which includes applicable employees, contractual staff, coaches, guides, pilots, and USABA referees who have direct supervision over athletes.  Additionally, criminal background checks are required for any non-athlete individual who stay or work at Olympic Training Centers or at USABA’s Goalball Residential Training Program housing.  USABA will accept current and favorable background checks from the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI) and other reputable background check organizations.

3.   Education and Training:

Effective with the issuance of this policy, USABA shall require education and training concerning the key elements of this athlete safety policy and the USOPC SafeSport program for applicable employees, contractual staff, coaches, guides, pilots and USABA referees who have direct supervision over athletes.  Training will include review of this policy document and completion of USOPC SafeSport training.  This policy also extends to any non-athlete USABA authorizes to train, reside or work at USABA Goalball Resident Program housing.  Individuals will be required to demonstrate successful completion of USOC SafeSport Training before being granted access to attending USABA sanctioned events and to Olympic Training Centers or USABA Goalball Resident Program housing.  This policy document, a link to access USOPC SafeSport training will be posted in a prominent location on the USABA website and mentioned in periodic USABA newsletters.

4.  Reporting:

The process for issuing a report of complaint or accusation of misconduct from a USABA employee, contractual staff member, coach, guide, pilot and referee who have direct supervision over athletes will be to report such to the USABA Executive Director or USABA Athlete Representative, and when applicable, to local law enforcement authorities.  No direct fees or other cost is involved in making a report.  Contact your local authorities if you have a reasonable suspicion that child sexual abuse or neglect has occurred.  All reports of child abuse or sexual assault of a minor must also be reported to local authorities.  Reports of abuse not involving a minor may also be reported to local authorities. Reports to USABA may be anonymous; however to assist in investigation, they will be encouraged to be made with the identity of the accuser or reporter being identified.  This process will be included in the training and education described above.  USABA will establish and ensure a reporting process for complaints issued and the findings.  If a report is associated with USABA’s role as a USOPC Multi-Sport Organization or with USABA’s role as a USOPC High Performance Management Organization for goalball, reports shall be made to the USOPC and any applicable legal agencies as appropriate.

Report misconduct to USABA:

5.  Enforcement:
a. USABA’s Grievance, Complaint and Appeal Procedures are materially free of bias and conflicts of interest, to address allegations of misconduct following the report of complaint of misconduct which was adjudicated under a criminal background check.
b. In cases where the Ted Stevens Act applies, USABA will comply with the Act’s requirements.
c. USABA’s Grievance, Complaint and Appeal Procedures shall include the opportunity for review by a disinterested individual or body.

Additional Terms of This Policy:
This athlete safety policy may be amended from time to time by the USOPC.  Additionally, USABA shall be guided by the principle that the health, safety and well-being of our athletes are fundamental elements of our managerial responsibility.  USABA understands that failure to meet the minimum standards as set forth by this policy may result in disciplinary action by the USOPC including, without limitation, loss of status as a USOPC Multi-Sport Organization and loss of status and USOPC support as the High Performance Management Organization for goalball.

Additionally, an individual who has committed a SafeSport violation who receives USOPC benefits may, at the discretion, lose those benefits.  Benefits that may be lost or restricted may include, but are not limited to, athlete support payments, tuition grants, use of and residence at Olympic Training Centers (including the Goalball Center of Excellence Resident housing), elite athlete health insurance, alumni relations programs, athlete marketing programs, athlete ambassador programs, athlete service centers, career assistance programs, media services, USOPC workshops, conferences and summits, personal development programs, sports medicine and performance services, and sports coaching and education programs.  Additionally, individuals may lose opportunities to participate in or be associated with the U.S. delegation at a Delegation Event and any other competition or event as determined by the USOPC.

The Center for SafeSport offers a Parent Toolkit that provides tips and information for supporting a positive sport experience for children.

SafeSport Parent Toolkit
SafeSport’s free online parent training
More resources:
Parents of Preschool Children
Parents of School-Age Children
Parents of Middle School Youth
Parents of High School Aged Adolescents