Houston-area high school coaches train to talk domestic violence with athletes

On Thursday, high school coaches in the Houston area say they are getting the tool they need to talk about domestic violence with their athletes.

The discussion comes as the Houston Astros are being scrutinized for trading for Roberto Osuna. Osuna is on the tail end of a 75-game suspension for domestic abuse.

However, some coaches say they’ve already had tough conversations with the young men. They say the horrific videos showing former Baltimore Ravens player, Ray Rice, and, once Astros’ recruit, Danry Vasquez assaulting their partners prompted the discussions.

“You use the situation and you try to teach them,” said Dominic Amarosa, the head basketball coach at Strake Jesuit College Prep.

“These were all grown men. I’m dealing with teenagers and, honestly, you want to talk to them early so it never gets to that situation,” said Mike Porter, head football coach at Northside High School.

Porter and about 20 other coaches participated in the “Coaching Boys into Men” program at Wisdom High School in Houston. The training led by the organization Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse or AVDA aims to make the coaches’ conversations with the young men easier and more productive.

“Coaches have a lot of influence over their young men and young men respect their coaches,” said Roy Ferretiz with AVDA. He adds athletes, in turn, have an impact on their peers and the school culture.

The training includes a Coach’s Kit – a playbook type guide on topics like dating violence, consent, and cyberbullying.

“You’re not just a coach on a field, you’re coaching these young men in life,” Porter added.

He did the training last year and says he uses the kit a couple times a week with his team.

Porter says it helped him with one of his athletes dealing with anger issues and getting into trouble.

“A couple of times, I just pulled out the book and we went through it together,” Porter said referring to the student.

The program is also available for middle school coaches. Advocates say the earlier they can talk about preventing domestic abuse, the better.