Using the Larry Nassar Case to Create a Coach Education Module to Prompt Social Change

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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  • 1 The University of Tennessee
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The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how case study methodology, an advocacy practice and policy model (APPM), and new directions in feminist theory can be utilized to educate coaches about sexual misconduct. Case studies are useful for both research and teaching purposes because they provide a potential framework for analyses of “real-world” problems. The APPM provides guidance on moving from analysis to action; in particular, advocacy is about education, negotiation, and persuasion. Feminist theorists push us to consider how the embodied experiences of female athletes and feminine subjectivities can unsettle and disrupt normative assumptions about the way that sport should be conducted. The case of Larry Nassar is utilized because of the amount of reporting available to analyze; this includes female athlete survivor voices. Having coaches wrestle with such questions as (a) Do I know the definitions of sexual misconduct? (b) Do I understand the warning signs a female athlete might be displaying if she is being abused by significant other in sport? (c) When do I have to report abuse to authorities? and (d) Do I know how to intervene on the athlete’s behalf? is important if we are to increase the likelihood of creating systemic change.

Fisher (lfisher2@utk.edu) is Director of the Sport Psychology and Motor Behavior Graduate Program, Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, & Sport Studies, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.

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