Sport providers have a legal duty of care
(see the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries
‘The law and sport’) to protect the welfare of young people and ensure
they are not exposed to unnecessary risk in any aspect of sports
This is best achieved through continually updating knowledge and skills for providing a safe and healthy environment.
Safety concerns for which advice, training and procedures (written where possible) should be in place include:
Note: the list of issues dealt with in this booklet is not
exhaustive. Sporting clubs must do their own risk assessment to make
sure they have covered all welfare-related issues (see the Department of
Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries ‘Risky Business’ for
Risk management procedures must be used to identify and control any
risk of injury or illness related to the playing environment and
associated infrastructure. Many sport providers utilise facilities
provided by local government and these local governments would most
likely have completed a risk management plan. The plan will identify any
risks and who is responsible for managing these risks.
Club facilities such as canteen areas and areas for social activities must be included in any risk assessment.
Facilities, sporting equipment and protective equipment should meet
the standard requirements for safety of the particular sport.
The dimensions of playing areas and equipment must be suitable for
the participants’ size and physical ability so that young people:
Please refer to the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries Sports Dimensions Guide and the Sports State Sports Association (SSA) for assistance in this area.
Protective equipment is also important in injury prevention. Items
such as helmets, pads and mouth guards should be properly fitted, worn
at all times and regularly maintained. Refer to your SSA for guidance on
appropriate equipment to use.
Sometimes extreme weather conditions (e.g. heat, cold, rain or wind) make it best to postpone training and/or competition.
Different regions of Australia vary in the weather conditions they
consider extreme, due to their acclimatisation to the local environment.
Consult your SSA regarding extreme weather policies.
Fluid balance is important at any time but needs more attention in
some weather conditions. Young people do not instinctively drink enough
to replace fluid lost during activity.
Young people must be reminded to drink before, during and after training and competition.
In adverse weather conditions follow specific fluid practices according to Sports Medicine Australia’s most current guidelines.
Young people need to protect themselves from sun exposure by wearing
sensible clothing, broad-brimmed hats and applying sunscreen.
Sporting clubs should help young people take these precautions and
assist in other ways to care for young people (e.g. erect artificial
Training and competition are generally beneficial for the development
of young people in sport. However, their health and wellbeing can be
The coach has an important role in preventing negative outcomes such
as injury and illness through careful planning, conduct and evaluation
Setting an appropriate intensity level for training and competition is important.
Over-training and over-competing can result in serious outcomes such
as injury, illness, negative psychological effects and burnout (see Physical growth and maturation).
Causes include the following:
Prevention requires planning a training schedule that controls the amount of stress placed on the young person by:
Young people must be carefully monitored because in comparison to adults, they do not have:
Monitoring to prevent negative outcomes requires an individual, sport-specific approach.
In general, the younger and less experienced the young person:
Other issues affecting young people when training and competing include:
Some young people have chronic medical conditions which affect their
participation in sport. Particular care needs to be taken in the case of
long-term conditions such as:
Social drugs such as alcohol, tobacco and cannabis are commonly
available in social settings and sometimes within the club environment.
Their use should be banned at any activity connected with sport, and
young people should be encouraged to carry this through to their
Note: performance enhancing drugs are covered in ‘The law and sport’ guide.
The risk of contracting illness increases under some sports conditions.
The risk of infection increases when young people:
Positive messages must be provided to young people about healthy
eating as an aid to performing well. Act promptly if you notice a young
person loses a significant amount of weight.
Best practice by sporting clubs means minimising risk to young people. This requires:
The goal is to make everyone involved with junior sport safety conscious.
This information is part of a series covering the nine guidelines
outlined in the Junior Sport Framework (JSF) as developed by Sport
The information in this booklet has been reproduced with the permission of Sport Australia.
The guidelines cover topics to address the needs of young people in sport and include:
These booklets outline the main points of the guidelines to assist in
the delivery of best practice in junior sport and to encourage young
people to make a life-long commitment to sport.
A complete copy of the JSF is available on the Sport Australia website.
Do not submit enquiries with this form.