When you tell your story
you become a voice for change
Grade Level of Event: 10th grade
Sport Played: Basketball
Your Story: I had a coach throw her keys at me when I didn’t like how I was playing in practice. She then cornered me in the empty locker room with the captain of our team, who was 2 years older, screaming and swearing at me that I was an “f—-ing cry baby!”
Grade Level of Event: Junior
Sport Played: Basketball
Your Story: He told me I was nothing. He said I was dumb — I’m not going to go anywhere in life. He’d use words that degrade LBTQ and us as girls with obscenities in practices and games. He personally called me a whore.
Grade Level of Event: Varsity
Sport Played: Football
Your Story: The coach rode my classmates hard, but the upperclassman seemed unphased by it. Coach berated one player and then belittled him in front of the team for the entire two-hour practice because he came in last in a relay. He never came back to the team, others soon followed. I worried I would be next.
Grade Level of Event: 12 years of my childhood
Sport Played: gymnastics
Your Story: i was always skinny. my coach would find anything to tear me apart. she told me i looked anorexic, and that my body embarrassed her. constantly comparing me to the way my teammates looks and would make sure i hated everything about myself. she downloaded a weight watching app on my phone at age 11.
Grade Level of Event: Sophomore
Sport Played: Cross Country/Track
Your Story: I told my coach I was going into treatment for anorexia and had to leave the team. After treatment she agreed to let me do less mileage. At a meet the next season I didn’t do very well and at the finish line she yelled at me saying I needed to run more and eat healthier if I wanted to be fast.
Grade Level of Event: 8th
Sport Played: Soccer
Your Story: I was playing select soccer for a well known and “renowned” male coach. He coached boys high school and recently started coaching girls. He was beyond demeaning and used belittling language towards all of us as motivation. He coached with fear and the sport was no longer a safe place for me.
Grade Level of Event: College Division 1
Sport Played: Volleyball
Your Story: I was abused by my volleyball coach. I witness him bully and abuse select teammates. He also had an inappropriate relationship with one of the girls on the team which made everyone else extremely uncomfortable. I was exploited and teased in front of the team. He would be talk negatively about other people in power ahead of him and would act fake in front of them.
Grade Level of Event: Club level
Sport Played: Gymnastics
Your Story: My coach made us terrified of her and she had a scary temper. If you made any mistakes, it wasn’t a matter of technique, it was because you were stupid, lazy, or fat according to her. I developed an eating disorder and my hair fell out and I had no energy. She always made us train and compete on injuries against doctors orders. I haven’t had her as a coach for 8 years now and I’m still recovering.
Grade Level of Event: High School
Sport Played: Swimming and Diving
Your Story: Our diving coach would be staring at girls on our swimming and diving team in inappropriate ways- I told our female head coach and I was then gaslit by our athletic dir, superintendent, and FATHER- saying that I was lying.
Grade Level of Event: Varsity
Sport Played: Tennis
Your Story: My team came to the agreement that our coach was under-qualified but was a good person. But, in my final two years we realized she was not a good person either. I was a starting member on the team and mid season, I noticed my shoulder was uncomfortable while serving. The pain persisted but she told me to just tough it out. We kept advancing rounds that season, and with every round the pain persisted and worsened. Coach didn’t care, she only cared about winning. That summer I attended eight months of pt and got steroid shots because of her. My senior season, I injured my ankle; a second degree sprain. She told me to go get an okay to play from the pt instructor, with a rivalry match coming up. The instructor wasn’t there, so instead I went to the instructor assistant and I got a verbal okay. I told my coach and she sent me off to play. We ended up losing the match and at practice my ankle was in pain. I told the coach, and found out from my teammates she was upset that I didn’t tell her cause she could lose her job when she was the one that let me go. I ended up quitting when a meeting with her and the sports director had her lying to the director, saying that she told me to get an injury slip for my injury yet she never did. When I disagreed, she said that I had gotten one for my shoulder injury when I never had. She was making me believe a reality that was false. Everyone on the team remembered how much I complained about shoulder pain the year before and coach never doing anything about it. I was in PT for months.
Grade Level of Event: Club (around 12/13)
Sport Played: Club (around 12/13)
Your Story: i have always been self-conscious, and unfortunately this particular coach’s technique was yelling and getting incredibly mad at his players. he always singled me out and refused to engage in small talk with me outside of practice like he did with my other teammates. i still don’t really remember any particular instances of things he said, which was like because it was traumatic and my brain was protecting me. i don’t play sports anymore.
Grade Level of Event: College – division II
Sport Played: Volleyball
Your Story: had doctors orders for no physical activity because I had 4 stress fractures in my back.. my coach made me speed walk 4 football field suicides knowing I wasn’t allowed to do any physical activity at all as a punishment all because two people didn’t reply to an email she sent.. she also didn’t have our university’s athletic trainer there because our coach was certified which allowed her to abuse her power over injured players bc we had no one to advocate for us.
Grade Level of Event: Freshman in College Division 1
Sport Played: Football
Your Story: The abuse started slow and some early things I could shake off or convince myself it’s college football, then abuse became more blatant. How can an offensive lineman be abused? The Coach would spit and hit me over the head repeatedly, kick me when I was on the ground after a bad block and run the stairs of the stadium without water breaks. It even got to the point that this man would hit me from behind and knock me on the ground calling me names. I did a 1v1, no matter who won or lost, he would call me a loser, the most worthless player he has ever seen. The thing about this abuse is that I began to believe that this was all true and stopped caring. It drove me to do things that are unspeakable and made me believe that I should never play football again. I have the lasting effects from the horrible abuse suffered at the hands of this Coach. I have been diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety disorder, lifelong scars. As I start the healing journey I realized that football is important to me and have found a new home to play college football. I still have panic attacks doing 1v1 but the new Coaches understand my trauma and are willing to help me to be a better player. This has been a long journey to healing and I am still healing. I will not let this Coach define me. I will be the only one who defines me.
Grade Level of Event: College
Sport Played: Hockey
Your Story: My story is about my experience playing for my college’s female hockey team. I was very excited to play hockey in college. I had been playing since I was five and many former teammates of mine were going to be on the team. The beginning of the season was great. I was having a great time working out everyday, and though we weren’t winning our games, we were competing, and that’s all that really mattered to me.
Things started to change very quickly, though. I started getting less and less playtime without being given a reason at all. I assumed I just wasn’t playing well enough or that my coach didn’t think I was putting in enough effort, so I would give 110% at all games and practices…I wasn’t even dressing for games, still not being given a reason or having anyone talk to me about it.
I asked my coach numerous times if I could talk with them about what was going on only to be told “yes” then being avoided by them so that they wouldn’t have to talk to me…
When I was finally able to talk with my coach about what was happening, only because my mom stopped them…and told them that they needed to talk with me…I was told by my coach that my depression was having a “negative effect” on my teammates…My coach thought that I was suicidal and never said one word to me about it. Never even asked how I was doing. No one did. The coach claimed that my “teammates were so worried” about me, yet none of them said a word to me about it either….Being told by someone with that kind of power that they could see you were struggling and them not reaching out once felt like someone had ripped a hole in my chest. I was not cared about on the team by the coaches or many of the players…. After this talk, I went back to my room and proceeded to throw up because of how upsetting it was being told that my mental health was a burden to my team.
My roommates who were also on the team and some of the few people who actually tried to help me get through my struggles, held my hair back and offered me water while this was happening. Them, having struggles with mental heath as well, told me how sorry they were that I had to go through that, and I appreciate and love them so much for being the few people who actually cared.
When I went in and told the coach that I wouldn’t be returning for the next semester, I was overjoyed with happiness. I hope that the coach will realize how the way that they act impacts players and change their ways…. I’m sorry to anyone who has gone through similar experiences with a coach and I want you to know you are not alone.
Grade Level of Event: 12
Sport Played: Lacrosse
Your Story: The head lacrosse coach used to call certain kids on the team “re****s”, “dip-**it”, “loser”, “f’n re****”, “stupid”. He also made a kid run for a whole practice of 2 hours calling him names and saying he could quit to make it stop. He coached through fear and intimidation while he favored some and tormented others.