The Devastating Effects Of An Abusive Coach
A family reached out to ILTWYP after reading an article we posted: Traumatic or just stressful, how to know when to pull your kid off the team.
Here’s Their Story…..
Our 16-year old son has been suffering from depression and anxiety. Over the summer, he had made two attempts to take his life; thankfully, both times, there was intervention before he was able to harm himself.
When we reflect on what lead up to these events, we can see it now. But we couldn’t at the time. This is what haunts us.
His grades were slumping; he was abusing alcohol and was finding reasons to skip practice or pretending to be there.
We had assumed it was due to the transition of our recent move. But when we decided to pull him off the team for financial reasons, it all began to make sense.
He told us how there was consistent yelling and screaming during practices, so bad that athletes would break down crying or how he would get berated and blamed for losses in front of the entire team. Mind you; he was new to this club because of our recent move.
As he talked, I reflected on certain moments over the year when he told us how negative and miserable this team was compared to the one he left. The many times he would call asking to not stay at practice. And the day he wanted to quit and how he regretted playing for this team. It was just all so clear…now.
We have since filed a formal complaint and are moving forward towards healing. There have been many ups and downs, but definitely a breakthrough in his health, physically and mentally. He seems happier and is excited for the high school season to start in the new year. He’s even started exploring new club teams.
In hindsight, I wished the moment he told us he had regrets about joining this team; we had been open as to why. I wish we would have asked more questions, probed, and not taken silence as an answer. The evidence of abusive coaching and toxic team culture was present right from the get-go, but like so many other parents, we just thought he would be able to handle it, and he would need to toughen up a little. We had no idea it could wreak so much havoc and cause so much damage to our son. Our advice to any parent is to trust your child and, at the very least, ask questions and investigate thoroughly.
We decided to share our son’s story because if we help keep just one of your son’s or daughters from going through something similar, maybe it will make our experience have a greater purpose and meaning beyond just the pain and sorrow we have been dealing with.