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Edgework provide insight into ‘sport for healing’

The importance of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as a catalyst for trauma, ill health and criminal behaviour is now well established. It is a pattern that is often passed down from one generation to the next.

We know that sport and physical activity can help disrupt that damaging cycle. Edgework Consulting, based in Boston, USA, has published a report summarising its perspective into precisely how sport provides a pathway to healing from the psychological trauma caused by ACEs.

Working with 24 organisations and communities in the USA, Africa, South-East Asia and Europe, Edgework has sought to understand how the most effective sport-based treatment methodologies work.

They have worked with projects and organisations who are pushing the boundaries of healing work in community settings, and then uses the learnings to create accessible frameworks and approaches for all those in the ‘sport for healing’ sector.

Beginning with information about trauma and its many negative after-effects, the report looks at possible forms of healing. It then identifies four stages on the ‘pathway to healing’ that are accessible through sport:

  1. Participation and engagement – overcoming barriers to access and turning up regularly 
  2. Regulation – helping individuals align their brain and body and better manage their emotions and actions, in four important ways (the four Cs):
    a) Connection – building positive relationships and group affiliations
    b) Control – gaining a sense of choice in important parts of one’s life
    c) Competence – experiencing the power of building skills and self-efficacy
    d) Contribution – opportunities to give of oneself to something and someone else of importance 
  3. Daily functioning – the ability to regulate and experience success aids the participant’s ability to handle daily stress and deal with daily struggles 
  4. Better place – Participants’ story of “self” becomes more positive, and they describe feeling more normal. They are able to plan for the future and make healthy choices. 

The document goes on to identify nine ‘inherent factors’ in sport that foster regulation and healing.

You can download Edgework’s full report, ‘Sport for Healing: The Case for Sport as a Medium to Foster Healing from Psychological Trauma’ below.

Coming soon: Alliance of Sport Co-Founder and Secretariat, Justin Coleman, and Edgework’s Lou Bergholz, offer their insights on the importance of a “trauma-responsive approach” in the Sport for Development sector.

Available Resource Downloads