Bullying In Women’s Sport | Event Recording & Resources

With Dr. Yetsa Tuakli and ShePower Sport Cofounders Dr. Katharina Grimm & Yoko Dozono

On Thursday, December 10, 2020 we hosted our first event in our Critical Issues in Women’s Sport series. Dr. Yetsa Tuakli, Founder and Director of the Sports Equity Lab spoke on the topic Bullying in Women’s Sport | It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

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Sport trains you to be comfortable with being uncomfortable—physically, mentally, and emotionally. This ability makes you grow and is a skill to succeed in life, too. But how much discomfort is acceptable ((“good”)) in relationships? Grey-zone behaviour by coaches, managers, physios, physicians, and teammates can be extremely confusing. Prof. Yetsa Tuakli discusses telltale signs of unhealthy relationships in sport all should bear in mind.

Key Learnings

  • Any form of abuse in sports stems from a power imbalance.
  • Context matters: Your personal experience and background determine what is okay and what is not.
  • Bullying is repetitive and unidirectional aggression that deliberately hurts someone.
  • It can not only be verbal, such as name-calling and teasing, and social, such as spreading rumors and exclusion, but also physical such as hitting and kicking, and damaging property of the victim.
  • Bullying may occur between athletes as much as between coaches or other staff and athletes.
  • Bullying is bad for everyone, and we all need to work together to overcome it.
  • Positive enforcement might be superior to punishment and sanctioning.

About Dr. Tuakli

Yetsa Tuakli received her undergraduate degree from Yale University, her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and her master’s in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She completed Physiatry residency at the University of Maryland and an Interventional Spine and Sports Medicine fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Currently, Dr. Tuakli is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale School of Public Health and a Physiatrist at Core Medical Group.

Dr. Tuakli is also active in local and international sports communities, focusing on athletes with disabilities, and athletes who have experienced trauma. She represented Ghana as a member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) medical committee from 2014-2018, and was the IPC’s inaugural Welfare Officer at the 2016 Paralympic Games. In 2015, Dr. Tuakli was elected to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Working Group for the Prevention of Harassment and Abuse in Sport. She was named Chair of the World Obstacle Course Racing (FISO) Safeguarding Committee, and appointed to the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Medical Committee in 2018. In the same year, the International Society for Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM) invited her to Chair a Task Force on Physical Activity for Persons with Disabilities, with a focus on mobility solutions for persons with disabilities in low-resource settings. Additionally, she currently serves as an Advisor to the US Center for SafeSport, where her focus is safeguarding athletes with disabilities.

As a post-collegiate athlete, she represented Ghana internationally in the women’s long jump until the 2016 Olympic Games. Her Sports Equity Research Lab at Yale focuses on themes of safety (e.g. preventing harassment and abuse) and inclusion (e.g. diversity and equity) in sports and society. Dr. Tuakli believes when we better understand sports’ flaws, we can craft durable solutions and allow sport to do what it does best: teach society how to find higher ground, and spark joy.

Follow the Sports Equity Lab Here!

Author:

  • Behind ShePower Sport are two sport medical professionals, Yoko Dozono and Katharina Grimm. With their combined global sporting background, some of which include Director of Medical affairs at Aspetar, member of Medicine & Science at World Anti-Doping Agency, heading the FIFA medical office, and an international level athlete, they are strong advocates for clean sports and female athletes’ health and rights.