Ministry of Sport Commissions Study to Protect Children

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The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has commissioned a study accessing and documenting the practices in place for safeguarding and protecting children in sport.

The study is aimed at streamlining and developing robust policies and programmes.

This was outlined by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, in a message read by Senior Director in the Ministry, Florette Blackwood, during the opening ceremony for the sports medicine conference at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge, University of the West Indies, on September 8.

Turning to the significance of the conference, which focused on the child athlete aged five to 17, Ms Grange said it provided a unique opportunity for learning and sharing with each other, blending and balancing the physical and the behavioural sciences.

“As we have come to realise, this is a crucial ingredient for the sustainability of sport development and sport innovations,” she said.

She pointed out that it provided an opportunity for all stakeholders – athletes, parents, students, academia and practitioners – to share.

“We look forward to receiving feedback on the conference, learning from the deliberations and where feasible, collaboration on projects and programmes. It is hoped that through the conference, meaningful partnerships and collaborations will emerge,” she said.

Miss Grange said the conference was a strategic move, as it followed closely on the launch of the establishment of the Faculty of Sport at the University of the West Indies, Mona.

“The Government acknowledges and understands the importance of this conference as it focuses on our young population. This is in keeping with our National Sport Policy priorities,” she noted.

In the meantime, she said tertiary institutions such as the UWI, the University of Technology (UTech), and the GC Foster College are demonstrating their roles as leaders in the business of sport, capacity building, research and training, and applied sciences.

For his part, Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the Ministry welcomes the additional platform which seeks to disseminate health information, adding that the conference would assist in doing so.

Dr. Tufton’s remarks were delivered by Head of the Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Dr. Lambert Innis.

He said sport undertaken in an unsafe manner heightens the chance of debilitating or degenerative disorder in the youth.

“This conference and the wider field of sports medicine will help to provide the necessary nutritional and physical recommendations that can prevent degenerative diseases,” he said.

President, Jamaica Association of Sports Medicine, Dr. Praimanand Singh, said emphasis on the child athlete is critical, adding that usually, focus is primarily placed on the adult athlete.
The conference was hosted by the Jamaica Association of Sports Medicine and the Faculty of Sport, UWI.

Participants were educated on issues, such as scoliosis, back pain, leg pain, foot disorders, medicinal and therapeutic use exemption, weight training, nutritional needs, among other topics.