Education Model for Parents of AThletes In Academics - EMPATIA


The purpose of the project is to establish an on-line multi-lingual educational programme for parents of young and talented athletes involved in a “dual career” path. The educational programme will be based on evidence-base knowledge on dual career parenting, and on eminence-base knowledge of parents’ experiences, perceptions, opinions and needs in supporting athletes as students.


Operational aims

  • to identify the actual gap of knowledge on dual career parenting;
  • to collect parents’ experiences, perceptions, opinions and needs in supporting athletes as students, as well as competences acquired through formal, non-formal and informal (sports) education career.
  • to develop a conceptual framework of dual career parenting, which will provide a sound theoretical basis for dual career actions and policies;
  • to develop a dual career parenting education programme based on a solid theoretical background, which will ensure its wide applicability in Europe;
  • to validate the developed online multilingual dual career parenting education programme at the level of the participating Member States, which could be adopted also at European level;
  • to target a high number of parents of dual career athletes from different sports and academic contexts, enabling them a dual career parenting education via a distance and self-regulated learning;
  • to raise the awareness of parents, academic and sport staff and policy makers on the promotion of dual career education supporting staff, which could contribute to the enhancement of dual career in Europe





A sound dual career parenting education programme will help parents understanding and managing their roles in dual career of athletes, and to lay the foundation for their proactive, manageable and effectivealliances with other relevant stakeholders such as coaches and teachers.The outcomes of the EMPATIA project could be considered also when revising and up-dating the EU Guidelines on Dual Careers of Athletes (European Commission, 2012), especially in relation to the following issues related to the stakeholders of the athletes’ social supportive network:

  • Alongside contributions from other sectors such as education, employment, health and well-being and finance, stakeholders in the field of sport such as sport organisations, sport centres and, in particular, coaches and parents play a key role in the successful implementation of dual careers for athletes (p.9);
  • Supporting structures need to be fully integrated in the sport, educational, vocational and lifestyle systems of the athletes rather than remaining isolated outside the sport context. They need to be based on direct contact with athletes, parents, coaches, performance directors and other stakeholders (p.16);
  • Despite positive measures taken to support individual student-athletes (and their parents), more specific and structural measures are needed (p.18);
  • Athletes and parents coming from other Member States are often unaware of services provided and internal regulations (p.35);
  • The concept of dual careers can only be successfully implemented if athletes and their entourage (from coaches to parents) are aware of its importance. Approaching the matter from different angles ……… will spread the message faster and in a more efficient way. Coordination between the different partners will be one of the key success factors. Existing networks can make an important contribution to disseminating the concept of dual careers (p.36);
  • Guideline 6 - Sport academies and high-performance training centres should only be recognised and supported by public and private sport authorities if some minimum requirements have been fulfilled… Collaboration with athletes' social support network (e.g., parents) (p.20);
  • Guideline 8 - Sport and public authorities should support stakeholders in dual careers to ensure that through supporting services and structures:….. Dual career support (including support for career transitions and crisis-management and coping interventions) is available to all recognised talented, elite and retired athletes (p.20);
  • Guideline 10 – Public authorities and stakeholders should develop a framework for dual careers in sport and schools in which specific arrangements (…… and supporting services) are included (p.20).
  • Guideline 20 – Social partners should include dual careers on the agenda of the social dialogue at national and European levels (profiles of competences, education, services) (p.27).
  • Guideline 29 – The European Commission is called upon to encourage and support the leading educational institutions and universities in Member States, in partnership with sport stakeholders, to participate in transnational consortia to develop shared curricula and educational programmes for elite sportspersons (p.36)
  • Guideline 32 – Sports authorities should coordinate actions in cooperation with sports organisations to raise awareness among coaches, athletes and their entourage about the importance of dual careers (p.38).