The true incidence of hazing in youth sports is unknown because victims don’t report the mistreatment or fail to recognize it as hazing, according to a review of scientific literature on the subject by a team of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers.
One study revealed that of the 47 percent of student athletes who had been hazed, only 8 percent labeled the behavior as hazing. Another study found that college students perceived hazing as having more positive benefits than negative effects.
However, a third study cited in the review noted that 71 percent of students who had been hazed reported negative consequences ranging from physical to psychological issues.
“The numbers are striking,” said Alex Diamond, D.O., MPH. “Very few — if they report it at all — will identify it as hazing. Then if you ask what actually happened to them or for them to describe the events, overwhelmingly, the description turns out to be hazing. We need to educate athletes to understand what hazing is versus what positive team building is.”