Virtual reality gives young athletes a safe place for tough decisions

  • Media Statement

Should you accept a free drink from a stranger after a game? Take a dodgy-but-legal substance before a race? Report a teammate acting suspiciously?

All these scenarios present real-life examples of ethically grey scenarios people might face in sport. To help young athletes tackle these issues, Sport Integrity Australia has today launched a new virtual reality game - Decision Making in Sport.

The game is a choose-your-own-adventure experience that puts users in challenging scenarios in sport, along with a framework to help them make decisions based on their own values.

Importantly, the game gives users a safe space to make decisions and see the consequences, so that when faced with a similar scenario in real life they are armed with the knowledge needed to understand the repercussions of their choices.

Sport Integrity Australia’s Director of Education Alexis Cooper says the education tool has “less to do with rules, and everything to do with values-based decision making”.

“In these scenarios, there are no right or wrong choices at first,” Ms Cooper said. “It is designed to help athletes understand how their values can guide them through some of the difficult decisions they may face.”

Sport Integrity Australia CEO David Sharpe said the game was another example of the organisation seeking innovative ways to connect with athletes on important issues.

“We know that athletes have to make difficult decisions in their careers – this game is a creative way to facilitate those conversations in a meaningful and engaging way,” Mr Sharpe said.

The VR can be completed as a standalone experience but can also be run as an interactive face to face lesson in sports and schools.

A recent session at Gungahlin College in Canberra received positive feedback:

Rohan: “It made me really think about how I approach a lot of issues myself, both in sport and in life. It really allows me to have a thought process around how to do it properly.”

Jordan: “My key learning was that your decision is not always going to be the best in someone else’s scenario. In some situations, you think you’re doing the right thing, but others might not think about it that way.”

Ellie: “I think it made me think about how I look at my morals when I’m making decisions. I felt like it really challenged the way I make decisions.”

See our video for more about our Decision Making in Sport VR Experience:

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