Homeless World Cup coaches receive training on trauma and ACEs

Homeless World Cup coaches receive training on trauma and ACEs

To coincide with Homeless World Cup day on Sunday 5 July, Healthy Stadia provided an online training course exploring trauma, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their relationship with homelessness and how sport and sports coaches can help to foster resilience and help individuals heal.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Tampere 2020 Homeless World Cup was unfortunately cancelled due to the risks associated with the widespread distribution of the virus and uncertainty surrounding international travel.

Traditionally, more than 500 players from around the world are invited to participate in a week-long festival of football to celebrate the work of street football organisations fighting tirelessly to end homelessness and social marginalisation. Over 50 countries around the world then compete in a purpose-built stadium in the heart of the host city, attracting crowds in excess of 80,000 with millions more watching online around the world.

For the past four years, Healthy Stadia as one of UEFA’s football and social responsibility partners, has sought to add value to the tournament by providing free public health training for coaches and support staff involved at the tournament.

When our partnership with the Homeless World Cup began in 2016, our workshops typically looked at addressing lifestyle risk factors, such as tobacco smoking, alcohol and recreational drug use as well as other health-related issues such as dental and foot care.

Since 2019, Healthy Stadia has provided training for coaches on trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Trauma often stems from abuse and neglect or living in households where individuals are routinely exposed to issues such as domestic violence, alcohol and other substance use issues.

Individuals may also suffer trauma outside of the home environment through bullying and discrimination in school and in workplaces, as well as gang violence, natural disasters and even war. Ultimately, trauma can have a negative impact on health and wellbeing, social outcomes and participation in sport – and crucially is very prevalent amongst homeless populations.

The training looked specifically at the prevalence of ACEs, the biology of trauma and its short- and long-term effects on the brain and body and what makes participation in sport particularly effective at helping individuals recover and build resilience. The training also looked at ways sport can be adapted to further increase its benefit and appeal to marginalised groups and ensure individuals are not re-traumatised.

Healthy Stadia is now offering public courses on trauma-informed and ACE-aware sports participation via Zoom on a monthly basis. To book onto our next course, please click here, or email: michael.viggars@healthystadia.eu

Michael Viggars

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