The Korea Herald


Baseball coach indicted for making elementary schooler run 100 laps

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : March 12, 2024 - 14:35

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This photo is not directly related to this article. (123rf) This photo is not directly related to this article. (123rf)

South Korean prosecutors said Monday it has indicted a baseball coach at a local elementary school on charge of child abuse, after he made one of his student athletes run 100 laps around the school grounds as punishment.

According to Incheon District Prosecutors' Office, the suspect in his 30s is suspected of physical and psychological abuse against a member of his team. He is accused of forcing the student do the laps in addition to 500 pushups within 90 minutes last year.

The child's parents filed a legal complaint against the coach to police in May of last year, and the prosecution has been handling the case since August.

The suspect denies the charges, claiming instead of being a victim to what he said was malicious petitions by his players' parents.

His trial will commence on April 1 at Incheon District Court.

South Korean authorities in the past years have made efforts to address the issue of abuse against student athletes by either teammates or coaches, but reports indicate such violence is still prevalent here.

From 2019 to Dec. 1 of 2023, there were 357 cases in which coaches of elementary, middle or high school sports teams have been punished for illegal actions, according to the Ministry of Education data provided by Rep. Lee Yong of the ruling People Power Party. Nearly half of them, 169, were punitive actions against physical or verbal abuse, indicating that many student athletes are still being subjected to violence by their coaches.

Such abuse may be more widespread than the numbers may suggest, as reports indicate that many student athletes are reluctant to report assaults to the authorities.

In a 2021 survey on 620 retired athletes on human rights violations of student athletes, 55.3 percent of the respondents said they were subject to violence during their playing days. But only 8.5 percent of the respondents said they reported such violence.

The survey was conducted by officials from office of Rep. Kim Yea-ji of the ruling party.

The survey showed that 28 percent thought appropriate measures did not take place because such mistreatment was "customary." When asked why human rights violations of student athletes occur so frequently, 28.1 percent said it was "due to old-fashioned beliefs and customs of the sports circles being handed down from the previous generation," followed by "because the leader, school or association condoned it."