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Compassionate Leadership: A new approach to hazing prevention for athletes

Joining a sports team in college or in high school can be both rewarding and challenging. Many teams have wonderful traditions and initiation rituals to build camaraderie and team cohesion. Unfortunately, others have very unhealthy hazing rituals that can be a major risk to the emotional, physical, and mental well-being of team members, impacting their team performance and overall health.


A national study conducted by the University of Maine revealed that 74% of students involved in college varsity athletics experience hazing, but only 5% report being hazed.


There are many barriers that prevent student athletes from reporting harmful behaviors in their new team. Athletes may fear losing the scholarships that allow them to attend a prestigious university. Other times, they don’t want to risk losing the chance to participate in an activity they have trained for throughout their life.  Sometimes, they may not realize that the harmful rituals they are experiencing are actually hazing.

Hazing is defined by as any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them, regardless of a person’s willingness to participate.

Recently, high-profile hazing incidents in college and high school sports teams have been headline news. Teams have been under scrutiny because of their horrifying initiation practices. Lifting the veil of secrecy that surrounds hazing on college sports teams offers the only way to create a better future.

It is crucial for colleges, athletic teams, and coaches to create open and healthy environment where new athletes feel safe. There are many steps that we can all encourage to make this a reality.

  • Colleges must create a safe way for athletes to report inappropriate behavior without endangering their scholarships or team membership.

  • In our families, teams and communities, we must start a conversation about hazing and what team initiation practices are and aren’t appropriate. It is important for athletes to know what hazing looks like, so they can decide when and how to act.

  • Young athletes must be encouraged to practice compassion for themselves and be mindful about their own boundaries before heading to college.

  • Athletes can register for the ATLF compassionate leadership program for athletes as a new approach on hazing prevention.

Hazing cannot exist in a team led by compassionate leaders. Compassionate leaders create a positive, safe, and unique team culture where every teammate is heard, valued and respected. This leads to stronger, more inclusive groups and long-lasting relationship with our teammates as well as improving team performance.


Embracing Self-Compassion for Mothers

As mothers, we can often be our own harshest critics. Yet, the journey to compassionate leadership grows from the seeds of self-compassion.

Join us on March 11, 2024 at 7:00pm for an online conversation about self-compassion for mothers. Discover ways to listen to your own needs, build healthy boundaries, and utilize mistakes as energy to grow.

For a suggested donation of $20, we will discuss new ways to embrace and practice self-compassion, in the company of like-minded mothers. All donations will benefit the Antonio Tsialas Leadership Foundation training and scholarships.

Click the link in our story and join today!


Empowering athletes through

compassionate leadership

In February, we presented Compassionate Leadership for Athletes as a new approach for hazing prevention at the APPLE Athletics event in Orlando. Attendees learned about the ATLF CLEARING model and practiced compassionate leadership by applying the model to a challenging situation in their teams. Attendees were able to transform harmful behaviors and situations into positive environments that improve team performance and athletes’ well-being. A special thank you to Jill Maurer and Susan Bruce at the Gordie Center for inviting us to be part of this amazing program, to Joe Glyek for creating this program and to the entire APPLE team for spreading so much LOVE and COMPASSION!!


Join us online for a compassionate conversation about Hazing and its Legal Impact at 7pm on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. Hosted by The Antonio Tsialas Leadership Foundation, Inc. and Stewart Tilghman Fox Bianchi & Cain, P.A., we will discuss the legal impact of hazing as well as hazing prevention and our mission to make the college experience safer, more supportive, and more compassionate. The event is free, but space is limited. Please register by following the link below:


For more information, please visit

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