Power and Control Wheel: Abuse in Sports

The Army of Survivors created a Power and Control Wheel, adapted from the original version by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, that focuses on power dynamics of abuse specific to sports. The wheel is designed to help athletes and institutions recognize the ways abuse can occur, and how abusers in sports use control tactics to take advantage of athletes. For example, an abuser in sports may use a coercive control tactic like introducing performance-enhancing substances to maintain power and control over an athlete through threats of reporting them.


The examples described in the wheel are a compilation of what athlete survivors have shared with us and/or information we’ve gathered from first-person accounts via research.

The inside of the wheel represents subtle, specific acts used by perpetrators to gain access to survivors and the outer ring represents power and control tactics used to abuse.

Athletes may identify with the tactics described in the wheel or some variation. Not all athletes will experience abuse the same way. If you are an athlete or caretaker who notices the signs of abuse, help is available.

Click on a circle below to learn about that tactic, or download a printable version here.

Adapted from the Power and Control Wheel developed by Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, Duluth, MN.

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