The world’s first Professor of Duty of Care in Sport was appointed by Abertay University in 2017, with a view to leading international research and education on a vast range of issues from bullying and harassment to equality and inclusion.
Professor David Lavallee took up this unique position with the backing of Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who had conducted an independent review into Duty of Care in Sport on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as part of the UK Government’s “Sporting Future” strategic plan.
The issue of duty of care had been thrust into the media spotlight following the emergence of historical child abuse in UK football. This was subsequently followed by a number of other high profile issues including the harmful effects of regular impacts to the body and brain, the quality of mental health support and discrimination in sport.
“High-quality, independent evidence and impartial analysis has a big part to play in creating a sustainable positive impact on people involved in sport, both now and in the future.” - Professor David Lavallee
Prof Lavallee, said: “Sport around the world needs a robust duty of care approach in order to protect its unique position and impact in society. It is an important part of the next evolutionary phase of world class sporting systems
“High-quality, independent evidence and impartial analysis has a big part to play in creating a sustainable positive impact on people involved in sport, both now and in the future.”
“I am delighted that Abertay University has taken the step to appoint a Professor of Duty of Care." - Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson
Baroness Grey-Thompson said: “I am delighted that Abertay University has taken the step to appoint a Professor of Duty of Care.
“I was really impressed with the dedication that Professor Lavallee showed to the subject when I was working on my Duty of Care report.
“He provided much valuable information and support and this is an exciting time for British Sport.”
Prof Lavallee’s recent research has been designed to explicitly maximise impact in sport. The direct utilisation of his research by national and international stakeholders has led a shift in the way practitioners support elite athletes facing upcoming transitions during their career and contributed to improved outcomes of sport support services.
The research underpinned the #More2Me campaign encouraging athletes to recognise the benefits of planning for a life after sport, and has been commended in a House of Commons Debate on Sport in the UK.