TASS Lifestyle Conference addresses athlete welfare issues


TASS is tackling student-athlete wellbeing topics from the ground up having hosted their inaugural Lifestyle Conference this week.

The event, which took place on Monday and Tuesday, included a keynote speech from Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson confronting topical Lifestyle issues such as athlete safety and welfare.

Bringing together more than 70 attendees including 37 Lifestyle practitioners from TASS, in addition to delegates from a number of sporting professional bodies, the two-day applied CPD and networking conference is thought to be the largest gathering of Lifestyle practitioners to have ever taken place.

Baroness Grey-Thompson was joined by nine other expert speakers including Professor Paul Wylleman from the Free University of Brussels who is well respected for his extensive research into student-athletes’ ‘dual career’.

Presentations provided delegates with a comprehensive understanding of the latest discussion points in the discipline, such as mental health recognition and referral, wellbeing research and high impact coaching conversations, as well as offering a chance to network with other professionals.

The event aimed to raise awareness of Lifestyle issues, inform and empower practitioners across the TASS network. Other key speakers included Lt Col (Ret’d) Alan Billings OBE, Army Elite Sport Performance Manager, Dr Jo Wood, an NHS Lead in Mental Health and Jane Mawdsley who is Education Lead at the English Institute of Sport.


Paralympic champion, Tanni Grey-Thompson, said: “Having a teenage daughter who plays a number of sports I am acutely aware of the importance of supporting an athlete’s lifestyle from an early age.

“Fortunately my daughter has a mum who has ‘been there and done that’ and is able to manage the challenges and issues youngsters face, but she is in the minority.

“That’s why I was really pleased to present at the TASS Lifestyle Conference, which focused on athlete wellbeing at the talent level of the performance pathway.

“I believe that all young athletes have the right to feel safe playing their sport in an environment that nurtures their talent, so the service that TASS practitioners provide is invaluable to the welfare of hundreds of student-athletes.”

Craig Williams, TASS Network Manager explained: “The first-ever Lifestyle Conference was a great success as it provided a chance for the entire network of Lifestyle practitioners to get together to upskill and work to improve engagement in the discipline.

“Our practitioners are knowledgeable and passionate individuals who care deeply about the profession and the student-athletes they work alongside every day.

“The conference undoubtedly challenged current perceptions of the discipline as being support for retiring athletes only, and reinforced the value of a proactive service for these youngsters.”

Jack Grundy, TASS Lead for Athlete Support and Education, added: “We’re really keen to keep the momentum gained at the conference going and look forward to providing further Lifestyle training and support to our network in the near future.”