About Us

The WBSC Integrity Unit is a specialised unit of the World Baseball Softball Confederation with the aim to ensure that integrity related issues within the WBSC will be addressed with transparency and great expertise.

The WBSC Integrity Unit handles all integrity-related matters in international Baseball and Softball, including anti-doping, safeguarding, ethical breaches, betting-related issues and any kind of result manipulation. It protects the integrity of the sports by investigating and prosecuting violations; strengthening the capacity to prevent potential future wrongdoing; and ensuring that the WBSC complies with its obligations under the World Anti-Doping Code, the WBSC Consitution, By-laws, Rules and Regulations. Moreover, The WBSC Integrity Unit protects the rights of the athletes at all times creating a safe, diverse and trustful environment for them to shine and enhances the Governance of the WBSC by applying very stringent standards of Good Governance and Accountability.

VISION: To protect the integrity of the World Baseball Softball Confederation and to ensure a clean and inclusive environment for everyone.

MISSION: To enhance fair play and transparency, protect athletes’ rights and promote inclusiveness to strengthen the governance within the WBSC and its members.

VALUES:

  • Team Spirit & Friendship
  • Integrity & Respect
  • Tradition & Innovation
  • Diversity & Unity
  • Excellence & Fun

Click here for more information.

Meet the Team

Mariela Gonzalez
Unit Liaison, Paralympic Commission, Suistainable Development and Humanitarian Projects

Victor Isola
Medical Commission – Integrity Commission, Anti-Doping Coordinator 

Amy Park
Athletes Commission, Legal Commission, Diversity and Inclusivity Commission, Women’s baseball Development Commission, Safeguarding Officer

Our Tasks:

  • Anti-Doping
  • Compliance
  • Ethics
  • Governance 
  • Humanitarian
  • Medical
  • Legal
  • Paralympic
  • Prevention of Competition Manipulation
  • Rule-making
  • Safeguarding
  • Sustainable Development

The Integrity Unit Logo is Simple and Clean, like the spirit of the community that we are building every day. The Black and White colours are indicating that on integrity matters there is no room for grey areas!

Anti-Doping

WBSC – WORLD BASEBALL SOFTBALL CONFEDERATION 
Anti-Doping Rules are based on Wada’s Models of Best Practice for International Federations and the World Anti-Doping Code.

Anti-doping Rules 2021

The World Anti-Doping Agency, during its constant work of updating, released a new World Anti-Doping CODE that came into force on 1 January 2021; it is the core document that provides the framework for harmonised anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sport organisations and among public authorities.

WADA, during its constant work of updating, released a new World Anti-Doping CODE that came in force from 1 January 2021; it is the core document that provides the framework for harmonised anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sport organizations and among public authorities.

It works in conjunction with 8 International Standards aimed at bringing harmonisation among anti-doping organisations in various areas.

Links to International Standards:

WADA also put in evidence and included in its website all the changes made compared to the old Code (2015). However, on the Anti-Doping eLearning platform (ADEL)you will find all the information related to the WADA Anti-Doping Code 2021.

For more information please visit the WBSC's Anti-Doping section HERE >>

Prevention of Competition Manipulation

What is Competition Manipulation in Sport?

Competition manipulation is an intentional arrangement aimed at improperly changing the result or the course of a sports competition, to remove all or part of the unpredictable nature of the sports competition with a view to obtaining an undue benefit for oneself or others. 

Competition manipulation occurs when a participant(s) in a Baseball/Softball competition (an athlete, athlete support personnel, official, referee, judge, etc.) cheats to remove the unpredictability of a competition. The participant knowingly underperforms or deliberately makes wrongful decisions affecting the result or course of a competition, which is entirely against the Olympic spirit. The reason behind such an action would be either to gain a sporting advantage (e.g. facing an easier opponent in the 2nd round of a tournament) or to gain a financial benefit, notably linked to sports betting.

What are the Rules and Violations?

In order to best fight against competition manipulation, the WBSC has adopted the WBSC Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions in line with the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions. Breaches of the WBSC Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions and the Olympic Movement Code can result in severe damage to your reputation and your sport, and moreover lead to disciplinary sanctions and criminal sanctions.

Breaches include:

  • Betting on one’s sport and/or on the sports event in which you are a participant;
  • Competition manipulation;
  • Sharing of inside information;
  • Corrupt conduct;
  • Failure to cooperate;
  • Failure to report.

If such a breach is identified, there will be disciplinary proceedings which could lead to disciplinary sanctions for the sportspersons involved.

Always Report & Contribute to Protecting the Integrity of Baseball/Softball

Relevant breaches of the Code not only undermine the credibility of your sport, but also the credibility of the overall sports movement and all athletes. It is therefore not only a responsibility, but also a moral duty of all of us to report anything that comes to our attention and looks suspicious. It is our right and obligation to contribute to protecting the moral integrity of our fellow athletes and our sport by reporting in a secure manner any potential breach that comes to our attention at your earliest opportunity.

The IOC Integrity Hotline is accessible for anyone at any time to confidentially and anonymously report any suspicious actions that have come to your attention: www.olympic.org/integrityhotline

You can also report directly to the WBSC by using the following email: whistleblowingreport@wbsc.org

Please consult the following documents:

Sports Betting

Sports betting has brought about a number of developments and had numerous consequences, including a tremendous increase in the number of sports betting operators and in sports betting revenue, together with huge changes in the range of sports betting offered, in particular with the emergence of new types of betting (fixed odds betting now represents 90% of the market).

The IOC first recognised the importance of sports betting at the Olympic Games in Athens 2004, in connection with the risks linked to these activities. Since then, the IOC has been very much involved in combating competition manipulation. Ahead of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, specific rules for the protection of the event were set up, including the prohibition for participants to bet on or promote sports betting during the Games. Since then, dedicated rules have been approved for each edition of the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games. In December 2015, the IOC adopted the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions, as part of the IOC Code of Ethics and also referenced in the Olympic Charter. The Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions mirrors and implements – from the sports side - the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, the international legal instrument that seeks to address the phenomenon internationally.

To step up its efforts in this field, the IOC created the Integrity Betting Intelligence System (IBIS) in January 2014, which operates on a continuous basis during and outside the period of the Olympic Games. Using a secure, protected and confidential IT platform, IBIS enables communication between the Olympic Movement stakeholders and the various entities involved in sports betting about any irregularities detected. Today, IBIS cooperates with numerous sports betting entities: private and governmental sports betting operators, the largest associations of sports betting operators (the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) and the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA)), numerous regulatory authorities and various other entities in the sports betting industry.

Generally, sports betting is not a problem. A well-regulated and controlled sports betting market further engages sport fans and channels interest and enthusiasm towards sport. Additionally, there are numerous sports betting operators that are traditional financial supporters of sport on all levels, as well as key social causes. However, it is also true that numerous risks arise from the strong involvement of sports betting within the contemporary sports sector and sponsorship relations. These risks, including the possibility of competition manipulation, need to be thoroughly taken into account and mitigated by sports organisations. For example, there are clear reputational and credibility risks if an incident of competition manipulation calls into question the overall nature of fair and clean sport. At the same time, the sports betting industry recognises that such incidents also jeopardise the credibility of their markets, and consequently it is of crucial importance for them to contribute to the efforts undertaken against the phenomenon. 

For these reasons, we invite all WBSC Members to consult the following documents:

List of Sanctions

Believe in Sport awareness campaign In order to prevent the proliferation of competition manipulation, the WBSC together with the IOC and its educational campaign "Believe in Sport", first and foremost seek to ensure that all athletes, officials and support personnel  are aware of the Code of Conduct of the Olympic Movement Unit on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions in order to protect themselves and Baseball/Softball from threats linked to competition manipulation.

Code of Conduct - Preventing Competition Manipulation

In early May 2021, the IOC launched a new campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the risk of competition manipulation among qualified athletes, their entourage members and officials in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020, while empowering them to “MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION”. The campaign, led by the Olympic Movement Unit on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions (OM Unit PMC), is being activated at different levels. The WBSC is actively on board spreading the campaign throughout its community with its four Ambassadors:

Giovanni Pantaleoni
Baseball, Italy
"You are an Olympian now, respect yourself, your opponents, your sport and spare no effort, that's what Olympians do."

Ayako Rokkaku
Baseball, Japan
"I love and respect the athletes who put their hearts into the spots. Let's be true and be yourself."

Randolph Oduber
Baseball Aruba
"Always give 100%. Win or lose you will never have a regret because you know you gave it your all."

Ashley Stephenson
Baseball, Canada
"We all love competing and winning but the importance of competing clean cannot be overstated. Remember to respect yourself, your country and your sport. Play true!"

The Believe in Sport Campaign provides a wide range of informative and ready-to-use resources, including audio-visual materials, a mobile app and e-learning courses for the Olympic Movement stakeholders to teach themselves and raise awareness about the threats of competition manipulation in sport. For more information: Believe in Sport  campaign and Toolbox

E-learning on competition manipulation
The Believe in Sport e-learning course on competition manipulation is a 20-minute online course, available on the IOC’s Athlete365 platform, aimed at specifically athletes and coaches, but also available for officials and athlete support personnel, and sports administrators. It is available in 11 languages and accessible here: Prevention of Competition Manipulation e-learning course.

Other Useful Documents

Safeguarding

What is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding is the action we take to ensure all children and adults are kept safe from harm when involved in WBSC Events. It refers to the processes and mechanisms of ensuring that sports and sporting events are safe settings for all and in which human rights are fully respected.

Strategy to Safeguarding Baseball/Softball Athletes (ENG)
Estrategias para salvaguaradar a los atletas de Béisbol/Softbol (ESP)

World Baseball Softball Confederation has established Safeguarding from Harassment and Abuse By-Laws.

Defining Harassment and Abuse

WBSC has adopted the definition of harassment and abuse as set out in the IOC Consensus Statement.

Harassment and abuse can be expressed in five forms which may occur in combination or in isolation. These five categories are i) psychological abuse, ii) physical abuse, iii) sexual harassment, iv) sexual abuse, and v) neglect.

These forms of abuse are defined here as:

  1. Psychological abuse means any unwelcome act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilisation, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.
  2. Physical abuse means any deliberate and unwelcome act such as for example punching, beating, kicking, biting and burning that causes physical trauma or injury. Such act can also consist of forced or inappropriate physical activity (e.g., age or physique inappropriate training loads; when injured or in pain), forced alcohol consumption, or forced doping practices.
  3. Sexual harassment any unwanted and unwelcomed conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal or physical. Sexual harassment can take the form of sexual abuse. Some individuals deliberately target sports activities in order to gain access to athletes. Grooming may occur over several years before an individual makes a move.
  4. Sexual abuse any conduct of a sexual nature, whether non-contact, contact or penetrative, where consent is coerced/manipulated or is not or cannot be given.
  5. Neglect within the meaning of this document means the failure of a coach or another person with a duty of care towards the athlete to provide a minimum level of care to the athlete, which is causing harm, allowing harm to be caused, or creating an imminent danger of harm.

Harassment and abuse can be based on any grounds including race, religion, colour, creed, ethnic origin, physical attributes, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, socio-economic status and athletic ability. It may be in person or online. Harassment may be deliberate, unsolicited and coercive. Harassment and abuse often result from an abuse of authority, meaning the improper use of a position of influence, power or authority by an individual against another person. The IOC Consensus Statements 2008/2016 consider that harassment and abuse are on a continuum, and therefore should not be separated.

Other than the above five categories of harassment and abuse, Other than the above five categories of harassment and abuse, more specific definitions have been set out in the IOC Consensus Statement (2016):

  1. Athletes with disabilities: Those who have long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments that, in interaction with certain barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
  2. Bullying: Bullying (or cyber bullying if conducted online) is unwanted, repeated and intentional, aggressive behavior usually among peers, and can involve a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying can include actions such as making threats, spreading rumours or falsehoods, attacking someone physically or verbally and deliberately excluding someone.
  3. Child and adolescent: Every human being below the age of 18 years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier. Early childhood relates to those below 8 years of age. Juvenile or young person and adolescents.
  4. Hazing: An organized, usually team based, form of bullying in sport, involving degrading and hazardous initiation of new team members by veteran team members.
  5. Homophobia: Antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion or hatred towards lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals.
  6. Negligence: Acts of omission regarding athlete safety. For example, depriving an athlete of food/or drink; insufficient rest and recovery; failure to provide a safe physical training environment; or developmental age-inappropriate or physique inappropriate training methods.
  7. Safe sport: An athletic environment that is respectful, equitable and free from all forms of non-accidental violence to athletes.

Scope of Application

The WBSC Safeguarding from Harassment and Abuse By-Laws applies:

  • During any WBSC Event;
  • To all participants of any WBSC Event;
  • To alleged incidents of harassment and abuse.

“Participants” shall mean all those, individual competitors (Athletes) and teams, officials, managers and other members of any delegation, referees and jury members and all other accredited persons including WBSC employees; 

The “WBSC Event” shall mean the entire duration of the competition, including the travelling time.

In Competition Policy

This is intended to help safeguard Athletes and other Participants from harassment and abuse in the sport during World Baseball Softball Confederation’s Events. This policy applies to all accredited persons on site from the official arrival and registration of the teams to the departure of the teams as indicated in the official event outline.

  1. For each WBSC Event, there will be a WBSC Safeguarding Officer nominated and available 24/7 throughout its duration;
  2. In competition Safeguarding Officer will be designated by WBSC;
  3. The Safeguarding Officer must be a person who has received safeguarding training;
  4. The WBSC Integrity Unit will get all the reports and issues the in competition Safeguarding Officer has received during the event.

In competition Safeguarding Officer’s responsibility during the WBSC Events has to:

  1. Safeguard athletes and accredited participants during the events;
  2. Be the main contact point for any safeguarding concerns that occur during the events and provide support for athletes who need advice and assistant;
  3. Make sure to record details that were told by the concerned person without inputting any interpretations or assumptions and report it to the WBSC Integrity Unit;
  4. Make sure that the reporting forms are completed and send a copy to the WBSC Integrity Unit as soon as possible;
  5. Be aware and prepared of any unexpected and unprofessional approach to the concerned person by anyone including officials, other athletes, or spectators. The athletes must be at the place where any information shared to the Officer is secured safely;
  6. Provide appropriate support to anyone who concerns of possible abuse, or who has been subject to abuse;
  7. Keep confidentiality of any information of the concerned person and if necessary make referrals to the WBSC Integrity Unit, the Police, the medical services and/or other appropriate agency;
  8. Not make any investigation by own under any circumstances;
  9. Inform all complaints and concerns that occurred during the events.

List of Sanctions

How to Report

To report a case you can contact the WBSC Integrity Unit at the following email: safeguarding@wbsc.org

English

Spanish

All matters pertaining to an alleged incident of harassment and abuse, in particular reports of harassment and abuse, personal information of the concerned persons, other information gathered during investigations and results of investigations (“Confidential Information”) shall be regarded as confidential. 

The WBSC may disclose Confidential Information to appropriate persons or authorities if: 

  1. a failure to disclose such information may cause harm to someone, or 
  2. such information relates to a potential criminal act that comes to the attention of the WBSC. 

IOC Prevention of Harassment and Abuse in Sport

As in all sectors of society, sport is not immune to the presence of harassment and abuse. Evidence demonstrates that harassment and abuse occur in all sports, in all countries, and at all levels of sport expertise.This is compounded by a lack of regulatory policies, procedures and protective mechanisms in sports organisations.

The IOC has developed a number of initiatives to raise awareness of this important topic and facilitate the implementation of safeguarding policies and procedures by sporting organisations, as well as implementing measures within its own jurisdiction. The core IOC Prevention of Harassment and Abuse in Sport initiatives include: 

The Games-time Framework is also available in: Spanish, French

Here you will find the links to the YOG Buenos Aires 2018 Framework in: English, Spanish, French

  • The IOC Toolkit for IFs and NOCs related to creating and implementing policies and procedures to safeguard athletes from harassment and abuse in sport.
    • This toolkit aims to assist IFs and NOCs in the development and implementation of policies and procedures to safeguard athletes from harassment and abuse in sport. Developed in collaboration with 50 stakeholders from inside and outside of the Olympic Movement, the Toolkit is endorsed by The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), and The Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF). In recognition that organisational, cultural and logistical differences occur between sports organisations, the IOC Toolkit offers a multi-tiered solutions-based approach to the core components of athlete safeguarding.

The toolkit is also available in: Spanish, French

Safeguarding Education Materials

The IOC educational tools seen below have been developed related to athlete safeguarding.          

These tools are free to take and to share.

Safeguarding Athletes from Harassment and Abuse

(This course is presented in English).

Participants must first register on Athletes365 for access to this course.

Info:

  • For athletes & entourage members;
  • Led by experts & athletes;
  • Features a review of each section and a final quiz;
  • Certification of completion available.

This course takes approximately 45-55 minutes to complete.

https://olympics.com/athlete365/courses/safeguarding/

IOC Sexual Harassment & Abuse Video Series

(Videos are in English. Subtitles will be available in French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese in June 2021)

Info:

  • For athletes, coaches & sports organisations;
  • 9 interactive videos featuring first person experiences of harassment and abuse in sport;
  • Highlights different forms of harassment and abuse.

Each video is between 3m30s and 5m / total run time approx. 40 minutes.

https://olympics.com/athlete365/what-we-do/integrity/safe-sport/sexual-harassment-and-abuse-in-sport/

Draw the Line

(Available in English, French, Spanish, and Russian).

Info:

  • Oriented toward younger athletes;
  • Interactive scenario-based learning;
  • Focuses on different forms of harassment and abuse;
  • Certificate available upon completion;

This course takes approximately 5-10 minutes to complete.

https://drawtheline.olympics.com/#eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoia3BxVVdRMjRXR2VZVDU4WCJ9

Consent in Sport

(Video in English with subtitles available in French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic & Chinese).

Info:

  • For athletes & their entourage;
  • Appropriate for youth athletes;
  • Includes a short, animated video and informational web page.

Sport should be a safe environment for everyone and talking about consent is just one part of our work to help prevent harassment and abuse in sport.

https://olympic.com/athlete365/integity/what-is-consent/

IOC Female Athlete Health 

(These modules are currently only available in English).

Info:

  • For female athletes & their entourage;
  • 13 interactive modules;
  • Part of a wider series.

Each module will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

https://www.olympicresources.com/Home/Welcome

Healthy Body Image

(Videos are in English with subtitles available in French, German, Spanish, Russian, & Chinese).

Info:

  • For athletes, parents & coaches;
  • Video series (4 individual videos);
  • Focus on healthy eating & exercise habits.

Each video runs between 3 and 4 minutes.

https://olympics.com/ioc/healthy-body-image

IOC Safeguarding Webinar Series for International Federations (2019)

This series, consisting of 10 two-hour webinars, was open to all International Federations of sports on the Summer and Winter Olympic programmes, and was presented between September and November 2019. Each session, led by some of the world’s leading experts in the field of child protection and athlete safeguarding, focuses on the common challenges faced by sports organisations looking to build policy and implement athlete safeguarding measures.

https://olympics.com/ioc/safe-sport/ioc-athlete-safeguarding-webinar-series-for-international-federations

IOC Safe Sport Webinar Series for NOCs (2020/2021)

This 9-part series was created to assist National Olympic Committees by raising awareness of the important topic of athlete safeguarding and facilitating the implementation of Safe Sport initiatives by bringing together experts from across the sporting spectrum to deliver informative, interactive, and regionally relevant online sessions.

https://olympics.com/athlete365/what-we-do/integrity/safe-sport/ioc-safe-sport-webinar-series-for-national-olympic-committees/

The IOC safeguarding materials can be found on both Athlete365 and Olympics.com.

Other useful documents

HEALTH & SCIENCE

PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL

The following table represents the main physiological processes involved in some international sports including Baseball and Softball.

Strength & PowerStrength is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to exert maximal force against resistance. Power is the ability to move weight with speed. Power is the workload multiplied by velocity most commonly expressed in Watts. The metabolism most used in this case is the Anaerobic one (ATP-PCr) where the energy system is usually used under 15 seconds.
Muscular EnduranceIt is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to execute sub-maximal force against resistance for an extended period of time. The metabolism most used is the Lactic one (Glycolytic) where the effort fluctuates between 15 secs and 2 mins.
Aerobic EnduranceIt is the body’s capacity to sustain medium to high intensity physical exercise for extended periods of time through the continual acquisition of oxygen. The metabolism most used is the Aerobic one where the energy expenditure overcomes 1 min with no limitation.
Movement AgilityIt is the ability to move and change direction and position of the body quickly and effectively.
Reaction TimeIt is the length of time taken for a person or system to respond to a given stimulus.
Psychomotor SkillsIt is the stable and reliable link between perception of body (sensory-motor area) with environment and execution of goal‐directed sports actions.
AccuracyWhere the objective is to hit a static or moving target of various shapes and sizes.

Among these, please below you can find the main used in Baseball and Softball:

  1. Psychomotor skills
  2. Accuracy
  3. Reaction time
  4. Strength
  5. Power

In order to benefit of a great health, it is paramount to consider athlete ‘s health and well-being, composed mainly of:

  • mental health;
  • cardiovascular health;
  • muscoskeletal health;
  • nutrition and dietary habits and
  • injury prevention.

It is very important to put a particular focus on:

  • concussion;
  • hearth rate;
  • energy demand of training and energy food nutrients;
  • specific medical concerns of the female athlete (energy deficiency syndrome) and
  • sleeping disorders, risky behaviours.

CONCUSSION

Concussion is defined as tramautic brain injuries arised by external forces (a blow or jolt to the head or body) where a neurological dysfunction occurs and most often it is solved without resorting to medical interventions.

The grades of concussion (Glasgow Coma Scale) range from Minimal to Mild, Mod to Severe (Schumacher Case).

The pathophysiology takes in consideration the following process:

  1. external mechanical forces;
  2. transient axonal lesions;
  3. neuronal excitotoxicity (an energetic crisis is in place due to decrease of glutamate).

When this happen to young athletes it should be considered also the immature brain, partial myelinisation, bony fragilty, neck muscle weakness.

As demonstrated in the scientific article: ”Sport-Related Concussion in Female Athletes: a Systematic Review”, the incidence of concussion is higher for girls compared to the males.

Below you can find the main symptoms:

CognitivePhysicalEmotionalSleeping Condition
Mentally foggyHeadacheIrritabilitySleepiness
Difficulty concentratingNauseaExcitableDisturbs in sleeping (Over/Under)
Delay in the reasoningVomitingMelancholy
Difficulty rememberingBalance issues
Repeated questions and replying slowly to themGiddiness
Does not remember the latest information wellVisual challenges
Getting confusedFatigue
Sensitivity to noise
Tingling feeling

WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF A CONCUSSION

  • Sit the involved player out of field of play;
  • Assess medically the player and monitor him/her for deterioration;
  • If it has been diagnosed a concussion, he/she must not return to play on the day of injury.

HOW TO ASSESS A CONCUSSION

Use the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool – SCAT5

1. Recognise and Remove: Red Flag (be aware of the following signs)

  • blurred vision
  • pain close to the neck 
  • headache 
  • vomiting
  • tingling sensations 
  • reduction of consciousness
  • convulsion attacks
  • upset, anxious

2. Re-evaluate monitoring and follow-up

Check if the athlete:

  • has been hospitalised for a head injury;
  • has receveid a diagnosis for headache disorder/ migraines / learning disability/ dyslexia / ADD-ADHD;
  • has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety or other psychiatric disorder;
  • uses some medications.

3. Cognitive evaluation

Evaluate the cognitive assessment of the athlete through the Standardised Assessment of Concussion (SAC).
In particular asking athletes if he/she remembers easy things such as what month is, what is the date today, what is the day of the week, what year is it, etc.

4. Carry out an evaluation about the balance – BESS

Put the athlete stationary on a pillow for 20 seconds in different positions (before standing on two legs, then on one) and evaluate if he/she has a good balance.
Please note that there is no threshold score that can guide decision-making. The score is only a tool for assessment and follow-up monitoring.

5. Rest and Rehabilitation

Rest from a physical and cognitive point of view, don’t use screens, avoid noisy environments, etc.
Rehab: use Physio for neck pain, physio if vestibular symptoms, use adapted nutrition, etc.

Usually, you can see the first signs of progression in between 10 and 14 days in adults, less than one month in children.

6 Return to Sport

Make some exercise steps such as starting with light aerobic exercise, sport-specific exercise, non-contract training drills, full contact practice until return to play. You can do it starting with walking at slow pace (no resistance training) – increasing the heart rate; running or skating drills by adding movements; starting progressive resistance training, adding hard exercises testing coordination and increased thinking; following medical clearance, participating in normal training activities, by restoring confidence and assessing functional skills by coaching staff. At the end you should be able to return to play.

Suggestions: use prevention

  1. Equipment:
    • mouthguard
    • helmets
    • grill/ facemask for face protection
  2. Follow rules/regulations
  3. Do good training: improving strength and resistance of neck muscles; working on peripheral vision/eye tracking; enhancing strength and physical conditioning
  4. Inform yourself (follow education)

MENTAL HEALTH

It has been found that athletes may experience mental health symptoms such as burnouts, insomnia, distress, alcohol/drug misuse, depression, unhealthy eating patterns. The causes can be originated by performance pressures, injury, dealing with failure and/or success, and career transition, in addition to some life challenges such as relationship conflicts, financial difficulties, griefs.

Mental health in the IOC documents:

  • The Olympic Charter (in force from July 2020)
  • IOC Athletes ‘Rights and Responsibilities Declaration (2018)
  • IOC Code of Ethics (2020)
  • IPC Code of Ethics (2016)
  • Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance (2008)
  • The IOC Olympic Movement Medical Code (2016)
  • International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Medical Code (2011)

According to the Olympic Movement Medical Code (2016): ”The Olympic Movement, to accomplish its mission, encourages all stakeholders to take measures… necessary to protect the health of participants by minimising the risks of physical injury, illness and psychological harm”.

Definition of mental health:

A state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

This argument includes:

  • a sense of internal well-being; 
  • feeling in line with one’s own values and beliefs;
  • feeling positive and optimistic about the life;
  • feeling at peace with oneself.

Mental health symptoms

There are some symptoms such as negative modalities of thinking, behaviors and/or feelings that may generate affliction and hamper with actions, including sports activities.

Mental health disorders

These disorders have to be assessed through a medical diagnosis. They are characterised by significant modifications in a human being’s modus of thinking, emotions and/or behaviours associated with disabilities in social activities like training or competition. The most common disorders are:

  • anxiety: characterised by anxiety-related behavioural (phobias and panic attacks), excessive fear;
  • stress;
  • alcohol misuse – dependence;
  • eating disorders: caused by not regulated style of eating; 
  • depression: constant sadness/low mood, disproportionate weakness and lack of enthusiasm and amusement.

Some international research has shown that sport is a determining factor that supports to overcome these issues but when they reach a determined level, it is indispensable the help of a physician.

Let’s have a close look at the symptoms that led to the above-mentioned mental disorders:

  • Bipolar and psychotic disarrangements;
  • Post-tramautic stress confusions;
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity irregularities;
  • Drugs use;
  • Suicide;
  • Gambling disorder and other behavioural addictions.

Impacts of these disarrays

The impact of these malaises can lead to poor performance, challenges in recovering from injury and downgrading of quality of life. The most common kind of injuries related to mental health are severe musculoskeletal injuries, the adversity from bad sports achievements, leaning towards defective carping, undergoing multiple surgeries.

However, with appropriate support, such impacts can be reduced.

MAJOR MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES AND DISTURBANCES IN ATHLETES

  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Sleep-Related Problems
  • Substance Use and Substance misuse disorders such as: alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, cannabis/cannabinoids, stimulants and anabolic-androgenic steroids
  • Bipolar and psychotic disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicide
  • Post-Traumatic stress disorder and other trauma-related disorders
  • Attention – Deficit / Hyperactivity disorder
  • Gambling disorder and other behavioural addictions
  • Alcohol misuse

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF KEY STAKEHOLDERS

Athlete’s entourage should:

  • collaborate with athletes to better comprehend the stressors in all sides of their careers (own, competing and managerial stress); 
  • encourage athletes to carry out mental health screenings;
  • recognise how to respond to an athlete who is in affliction and supporting him/her through positive discussions;
  • diminish the stigma on the analysis of mental health;  
  • know the IOC Sport Mental Health Recognition Tool 1 (SMHRT-1) (not useful for the diagnosis but important for the athlete’s health) – this assist in perceiving when an athlete may ask for a specialist support; 
  • promote a protected and aided return to play if an athlete didn’t participate at some trainings or competitions for physical or mental health causes;
  • improve intellectually protected sports environments; 
  • appreciate and boost ethical values included in the Olympic Charter such as respect, sense of sacrifice, mutual understanding; 
  • protect the rights of the athlete.

For coaches:

It is strongly recommended to download the IOC’s “Quality of a Great Sports Coach” guidelines where the ideal coach is defined as a conclusive, confiding, determined, conscious, attentive, respectful and patient communicator.

The ideal coach disseminates friendship, assurance, sports values, audacity, control and without the use of Doping in order to ensure healthy behaviours in his/her athletes.

For parents/guardians/family/friends:

They play a crucial role for the athletes because they have the potentiality to establish a reliable and solid assistance network, especially during their free-time.

For physiotherapists and athletic trainers:

In an event of an athlete’s injury, the athlete often perceives not only physical damages but also some mental issues to conquer. Therefore, physiotherapists and athletic trainers are really important in the early disclosure of mental health challenges and confusions.

There are many stressors and natural demands that can perturb the athlete's mental health. Below you can find the main categories.

Key stressor, divided into three categories:

  • Competing stressor: it is due to natural requests associated with competing activities e.g. injury, preparation, under-performing, rivalry,etc.
  • Managerial stressor: they are related with the organisation which the athlete is a member. In this category are included leadership, cultural, team and operational  challenges.
  • Personal stressor: the natural aspects related to the athlete’s personal life such as family challenges, death of a family member, academic commitments.

Traumatic stressors

  • bullying
  • cyberbullying
  • physical abuse
  • psychological abuse
  • sexual harassment or abuse

In the event where one or more athletes suffer from these disorders, it is fundamental to seek help from professionals (sports psychiatrists, sports psychologists and clinical psychologists) that through educational interventions can prevent and treat mental disorders in elite athletes.

These educational programs should improve the help-seeking behaviours, enhancing alertness of mental confusions, treat stigma and support athletes through psychological first-aid.

Below you can find some key facilitators to help-seeking:

  • confidence;
  • social help;
  • convenience (money/transport);
  • discipline;
  • time management;
  • confidence previous events;
  • consciousness and literacy;
  • assimilation of the athlete’s state of mind.

HOW TO OPERATE

PreventionInitial disclosureInitial mediationProfessional mental health support
Create a safe environment for athletes and entourage to boost the usefulness of mental health and wellness. This means: regularly check the general health of athletes, screening for mental health confusions, awareness in psychic well-being education, enhancing intimate contacts and abolishing the stigma for psychic health support.Most of the time, the early detection of the mental confusions may be done by an entourage member such as a family member, a coach, an athletic trainer.

In order to be aware that an athlete needs first support, it is fundamental to fill-in the IOC’s Mental Health Recognition Tool (SMHRT-1).
This shall be administered by experts who are familiar  to the athlete and are included in the chain of the team.

The professionals in mental health will furnish specific methods to the situation of the athlete.
The fourth and last act is seeking a professional in mental health. 

If there is a situation of emergency, we strongly recommend establishing and following the team’s Mental Health Emergency Action Plan (MHEAP).

Generally, the athlete support personnel could help the athletes through the following actions:

  • facilitate talks about mental health and psychological stress;
  • encourage support seeking;
  • enhancing communication skills like sensitive listening;
  • cooperate with the athlete ambassadors on how to help athletes;
  • don’t give false information and/or declare something you won’t carry out;
  • don’t neglect their gender, age, lifestyle and education;
  • relate to them as a person and not as an athlete;
  • inform them about the type of specialist support available;
  • respect their willingness of privacy and don’t pressure them;
  • make available a protected environment in order that they feel comfortable to share their stories.

ROLE OF SPORT ORGANISATIONS

They should:

  • perceive the function of caution towards the athlete;
  • attend continuing education in order to provide the best help to the athletes;
  • boost convinced benefits around mental support;
  • establish programmes to enhance the period while athletes are leaving their sports career;
  • promote a confident influence around mental health;
  • establish mental health policies and a Mental Health Emergency Action Plan (MHEAP);
  • ensure a protected and adjuvant context.

REALISE MENTAL HEALTH POLICIES

The sport organisations shall delineate the attitudes through which they want to operate for the health support.

Below you can find the categories of policies you could implement:

  • A Mental Health Emergency Action Plan (MHEAP)
  • A managerial mental support action plan
  • A guidance for the entourage

THE ROLE OF THE HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

In order to guarantee an optimum environment regarding mental health for athletes, it is strongly suggested to provide sports physicians and psychiatrist/psychologists that have expertise in supporting the mental wellness for Baseball and Softball at high-level to the athletes.

It is useful to develop some prevention strategies in order to contrast the diffusion of mental disorientations.

The three main type of interventions are:

  • Universal prevention: reaching all the athletes;
  • Selective prevention: reaching those athletes that show already some issues but are not included in the pool of high-risk;
  • Indicated prevention: reaching athletes in the pool of high risk.

Universal prevention includes:

  • having adequate policies in order to raise awareness about harassment and injustice in Baseball and Softball;
  • carry out frequent controls for the mental wellness;
  • general formative activities carried out by mental health professionals;
  • make sure there is in place an injury prevention program because has been found that there is a correlation between injuries and mental disorders;
  • Helping the athletes in building a strategy for the career transition.

ANALYSIS OF THE ISSUES - SOME GOOD EXAMPLES

Medical professionals shall:

  • Involve also the family in the cures;
  • Analyse if it is necessary not only a psychotherapy but even a pharmacological support;
  • Take in consideration the busy time schedule of the athlete.

On the other hand, medical professionals shall not:

  • Administer treatments that havent’ ever used in the past;
  • send some other person in its place for the meetings.

For the therapies, you should contemplate the following scenarios:

  • probable improvements not caused by the therapy;
  • presumed advances generated by the formative activities and medications (if administered);
  • possible dangers for the health;
  • probable unfavorable repercussions on the sports activity.

ORGANISATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH ACTION PLAN

The ideal mental health action plan shall include:

  • the implementation of some formative activities for the athletes, coaches and other members of the entourage;
  • recognise ambassadors of mental health in order to face stigma and raise awareness about mental support;
  • spread strategies in order to enhance mental health protection;
  • create mental support policies;
  • reinforce proposals for diversity and involvement;
  • establish “movements” in order to give prominence to the mental support;
  • enact some activities, highlighting the importance of our discipline in protecting the mental wellness;
  • carry out adequate athlete safeguarding policies;
  • create colloquial and academic external help structure, incorporating the organisations of the community, schools and services for the mental health.

DEVELOPING A MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN (MHEAP)

Who is responsible: Organisation’s medical team together with professionals in mental health.

The NCAA Mental Health Best Practice CheckList affirms that the following procedures should be included within the MHEAP:

  • establish roles and responsibilities of each entourage member;
  • where a minor is involved, designate specific approaches including the process of contacting the family;
  • establish actions after a potential emergency;
  • explanation of the mental health emergency, embedding potential sequence of the events, challenges and potential solutions;
  • emails, phone numbers of the specialists;
  • clear actions for managing mental health confusions like psychosis, paranoia, hallucination and symptoms such as attempted suicide, sexual aggressions, intoxication from drugs.

It is paramount to communicate well throughout the organisation. Therefore, each organisation shall nominate one or more members working as a point of reference with other organisations (for example NFs with IFs).

SUPPORTING THE MENTAL HEALTH

NutritionAlcohol and gamblingAccommodation and sleepCommunication
Provide environments at the events with communal areas in which athletes can eat together and it is possible to check the food and beverage. 

The food and beverage shall be balanced and healthful, monitoring potential alimental constraints and/or allergies. Try to know what the athletes ingest while they go outside, for example at the restaurants, pharmacies, food markets, etc. 
During the events, if there are some bars, restaurants, and casinos inside the “bubble”; it should be guaranteed to keep away from alcohol and gambling.Athletes shall have adequate time to lie down and capable accommodations. Hotels shall not be positioned in loudly areas and the rooms shall not be exposed excessively to the light.


Sport organisations shall instruct athletes on the sleep quality and potential suggestions of enhancement.

The conversation with parents, friends can be challenged during events. Some fragile athletes (having already some mental issues such as depression, anxiety) are more at risk.

One possible solution is to provide a stable access to good wi-fi connection.

SUPPORTING THE POST- CAREER TRANSITION

All sport organisations shall establish a substantial career transition plan that bring added value to the athletes at the end of their sports career.

Below you can find some useful suggestions regarding this:

  • carry out some educational programmes on mental health, focusing on the possible issues and exploring the various solutions;
  • inspire athletes to implement useful skills outside of the sports environment;
  • collaborate with governing entities;
  • boost athletes to utilise their free-time efficiently by enhancing their networking outside of the Baseball and Softball environment;
  • organise didactic activities aimed to improve the knowledge about the self-management of injuries;
  • support the comprehension of mental health among all the staff.

RESOURCES

IOC Athlete 365 Career +Career transitionAthlete365 Community AppIOC - Athlete 365 Safe Sport WebpagesIOC Sport Mental Health Recognition Tool 1 (SMHRT -1)IOC Sport Mental Assessment Tool 1 (SMHAT-1)
This is a programme aimed to improve the life of the athlete after the sports career.Together with Athlete 365+ Career, it is one of the most important documents in order to facilitate the life of the athletes after the sports career.It is an IOC app where athletes can share their thoughts, experiences in the sports life.Didactic documents that explain why it is fundamental to have a safe sport environment.The SMHRT-1 includes some behaviours that signal some mental disorientations.The functionality of the  SMHAT -1 is to determine whether an athlete suffers from some mental diseases. It can be used by mental health professionals.
Sports Psychology: Getting in the ZoneIOC Safeguarding ToolkitMental health in elite athletes: IOC consensus statementThe Athletes’ Declaration (2018)IOC Diploma in Mental Health in Elite SportIOC document - Sports Medicine: Understanding Sports InjuriesIOC Certificate: Safeguarding Officer in Sport
Improve the knowledge on how to better concentrate yourself and how to dominate emotions and obstacles for a competition.It is aimed for the advancement of policies in the sensitisation about harassment and verbal/physical attacks in sport.It includes the many existing diverse mental health challenges.It includes an array of athlete’s rights and responsibilities within the Olympic movement.
It is a one-year diploma programme offered by Sportsoracle.
Here you will apprehend some basis in sports medicine such as load management and general training.It is aimed at the Safeguarding Officers in the sport organizations.

Control Mechanism

Control Mechanisms are not only granting a safe environment, they are also vital to monitor the operations of the Integrity Unit in order to ensure successful performance. Mechanisms aid to reach standards to exercise certain kinds of control that ensure the values and goals of the Unit are met.

Having independent representation in various areas is of importance for consistent controlling mechanisms. Therefore, the WBSC established an independent Integrity Commission and conducts the audit externally.

Disciplinary

The WBSC acts according to the disciplinary rules and may take measures in the following instances:

  1. A violation of the WBSC Statutes
  2. A violation or failure to observe the WBSC By-Laws, Rules and Regulations
  3. Proven conduct that damages the WBSC image, prestige and authority
  4. Reprehensible conduct during official competitions or activities of the WBSC or outside of them
  5. Failure to observe the agreements and decisions of the WBSC Governing Organs
  6. Repeated failure to meet the responsibilities and obligations of individuals positions
  7. Commission of serious offences against sporting morals and ethics
  8. Failure to observe the principles and rules set out in the WBSC Code of Ethics
  9. Failure to observe the WBSC Anti-Doping Regulations

An appeal against the penalty applied by the Executive Board may be lodged with the next Congress of the WBSC. The appeals procedure does not affect the performance of the penalty, which takes effect from the date of official notification to the Member Federation, by fax and registered letter sent on the same date. The decision taken by the Congress on the appeal will not modify the results of any tournaments or championships with which the disciplinary proceedings may be connected.

The WBSC is also entitled to apply disciplinary measures to an individual who is member of a Member National Federation or who comes under the jurisdiction of said National Federation, and to any individual invested with official representation in a game, tournament, competition or official activity of the WBSC.

Disciplinary matters shall be discussed at ordinary meetings planned in the approved annual calendars of each body. Only in exceptional cases of extreme severity will extraordinary Executive Board meetings be convened for this purpose.

The jurisdictional scope of these Rules covers conflicts, disputes, differences of opinion or any other type of controversy between Federations and Organs of the WBSC or between them and governmental or non-governmental sporting organisations with which they have working links.

For detailed information about the above please have a look at the WBSC Disciplinary Rules.

Match Fixing controlling mechanism

Any Associate must report or “whistle-blow” to the WBSC on any party/ies in violation or where there is probable cause to believe a breach has occurred as well as any suspicions. WBSC, will provide protection against any unjustified treatment in the form of providing confidential advice to whistleblowers so long as there is an honest and reasonable belief of wrongdoing or illegal betting. Any form of fraud, corruption, violation of policies, law and regulations are completely incompatible with the intrinsic values of sports. Within WBSC there is zero tolerance for such improper activities.

The WBSC Whistleblower Report Form needs to be duly filled in and submitted to either:

  • The WBSC Integrity unit: integrity@wbsc.org
  • Dedicated e-mail: whistleblowingreport@wbsc.org
  • IOC Hotline
  • Encrypted WBSC email address: confidential.WBSC@protonmail.com
  • Dedicated physical address for anonymous reports; Avenue Général-Guisan 45, Pully, Switzerland

The report needs as much evidence as possible to authenticate the allegation(s) such as witnesses, documents and other relevant and specific advisement.

The report contains the following information:

  • WHAT improper activity occurred?
  • WHO committed the activity?
  • WHEN did it occur?
  • WHERE did it happen?
  • HOW did it happen?
  • ANY other parties involved?
  • EVIDENCE section

The WBSC Integrity Unit is responsible for documenting all whistleblower reports and to determine whether a follow-up is warranted. The Integrity Unit will then recommend whether a case should be submitted to a third party such as a lawyer or the police or if local authorities need to be notified to pursue local law. For clarity, the local authorities are responsible for determining whether to conduct a criminal investigation in relation to an alleged incident. All reports will be made under the guarantee of confidentiality.

WBSC Whistleblower Report Form
WBSC Sports Betting By-Laws

Conflict of interest

A key element for ensuring the integrity of sport organisations is the development and implementation of appropriate conflict-of-interest policies to mitigate the risk that the processes were unduly influenced, to reinforce public trust in the integrity of sport organisations.

The WBSC Conflict of Interest Policy sets out the procedures for identifying and managing conflicts and potential conflicts of interests or duty, affecting all persons involved in the administration and running of the WBSC and its business. Conflicts affect discussions and decision-making and may result in decisions being reached that are not in the best interests of the WBSC, moreover conflicts can give the impression that improper conduct has occurred and normal decision making is more transparent and it allows the management of conflict that arises. All parties are under a duty to avoid a conflict, where possible. If a party has a conflict, a decision must be made as to how to manage it, as follows:

  • By the President for Conflicts relevant to WBSC EB members;
  • By the Chairman of the meeting at which the Conflict becomes relevant.

and in each case, after consultation with the WBSC Integrity Unit.

There are 2 main types of conflicts:

  • Conflict of interests: Where a party has an interest personal to them, which may conflict with the best interests of WBSC.
  • Conflict of duties: Where a party owes a duty to another body, that may conflict with his/her duties to act in the best interests of the WBSC.

Upon election - appointment, the party concerned must declare his/her interests, using the Declaration of Interests Form provided by the WBSC. The information on the form will be used to update the WBSC Conflict of Interest registry, which is used to track potential conflict and to keep an organized overview.

Homologation

Homologation is the type of approval process through which Baseball and Softball equipment is required to go through for certification. Consistency on material and equipment is essential for a fair competition.

2022 WBSC Approved Bat list will be published soon.

Sustainable Development

Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (UN, UNICEF). The WBSC and our entire baseball-softball community, as a major global ecosystem, and as defined in the organisation’s mission, is responsible to harness our game for humanitarian objectives and to help shape a better and more sustainable world. WBSC strategy for sustainable development is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while sustainability in its broader sense is embedded into the organisation’s strategic planning for 2021 and 2024, including clear and measurable goals and KPIs.

To find out more please consult the following documents:

WBSC Home Plate Sustainable HQ
WBSC Sustainability Reporting Strategy

Sustainable HQ

The headquarters of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), known as “Home Plate”, was officially opened on July 2020. The organisation’s new headquarters in Switzerland are designed with sustainability at its heart. The move follows the merger in 2013 of the International Baseball Federation and the International Softball Federation and the acquisition in 2018 of the building which, after a complete renovation, now hosts its joint Confederation.

The new space is also an inspiration to the WBSC stakeholders to adopt best practices at every level of the game. 

Reporting Strategy

WBSC launched its brand-new strategy based on nine (9) Strategic Goals. Among these goals “Increase Transparency and Sustainability”, “Grow our Sport and Make it relevant in People’s Lives and in their Communities”, “Strengthen WBSC Governance and Reputation” and “Event Excellence”, will be the base for using our sport as an enabler of sustainable development. All nine (9) Strategic Goals contain one or more sub-goals related to sustainability (at large) and are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).