A few words from USA Cycling's new Risk Protection Manager


by Jon Whiteman
USA Cycling Risk Protection Manager

During my youth, I played sports non-stop.  My life, as well as many of my friend’s lives, revolved around the next game of horse, homerun derby, the next bike race or a bike jumping competition. No matter the activity, we were fully engaged and enjoying life.  Sports gave me an outlet, made me feel good about who I was and introduced me to many other youth interested in the same types of activities.  Naturally, as I aged, sports became more competitive – bringing with it different lessons – lessons of handling yourself well in victory and defeat, making sacrifices to become a better athlete and learning discipline.  Whereas all of these terrific lessons I absorbed throughout my years in sport remain intact, there are a few other experiences that come to memory too easily.   
When approaching adolescence, I played baseball for a coach that yelled, screamed and belittled all of the athletes on the team. Often times, players would end up tearful or feeling a sense of worthlessness.  Sometimes he did this in private and sometimes in front of our parents  Even our parents, sometimes, accepted it was just “Joe being Joe”, while other times they felt a responsibility to intervene on our behalf.  Thankfully my father eventually recognized this as a real issue and removed me from the team, demanding the league place me on another team without a coach who treated his players like that.  I was fortunate that my father acknowledged then, what is now recognized as misconduct/abuse in sport.
Misconduct and abuse, whether emotional, physical or sexual, has no place in sport and can tarnish an individual’s otherwise terrific experiences.  Understanding athlete protection is everybody’s responsibility.
I was hired in February to help USA Cycling ensure that risk is reduced for athletes and that all necessary safeguards are implemented in an attempt to prevent adverse experiences for youth cyclists and all other cycling participants. I'll oversee and facilitate communications for USA Cycling's Safe Sport, Concussion Management, and Anti-Doping programs.
USA Cycling understands that as the NGB it must take appropriate steps to lead the sport into the next generation of athlete protection. While the program is in its infancy, development of the program continues and you will soon see more communication about how this new initiative will impact USA Cycling's membership. A page on the USA Cycling website will be developed in the coming months. However, until that site is available, feel free to visit the USOC’s SafeSport website to learn more about the SafeSport movement.  USA Cycling looks forward to working alongside its membership to ensure that all participants enjoy their participation in the sport while remaining safe from misconduct.
Questions? Feel free to contact me at jwhiteman@usacycling.org or by phone at 719-434-4222.

Thanks for reading,
Jon Whiteman

This Article Updated April 10, 2013 @ 03:36 PM For more information contact: