One out of every five students report being bullied, according to the National Bullying Prevention Center.
What You Need To Know
- After dealing with bullying when he was young, Fred Spencer has written a book called “Anti-Bullying Through Sports”
- The CDC reports students who are bullied are also at an increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and they struggle more at school
- In his book, Fred uses sports language to help students, and parents, understand what bullying is, and what they can do to prevent it
And the CDC reports students who are bullied are also at an increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and they struggle more at school.
Having been bullied himself, a local former professional basketball player turned coach and mentor is doing his part, writing an anti-bullying book geared towards athletes.
Fred Spencer spent most of his life on the basketball court. “I started playing sports around my 7th grade year, middle school, then I hit a growth spurt for like 5 or 6 inches overnight and I got into basketball.”
From there he played in high school, college, and went pro for four years in Spain prior to moving to Tampa Bay to figure out his next calling. “That’s when I came back and started working with youth and transitioned from the player to civilian life. That was the biggest challenge for me.”
While it was challenging, it’s proven to be worth it. Fred has mentored many kids over the years, some through his love for basketball as a coach, others at the rec center he works at now as a mentor, and he says after seeing so many kids really struggling, he knew he could help.
“Having credibility helps, and with my life experience from having dyslexia with a learning disorder, no parents and stuff, I let them know, hey if I can do it with no resources, you can do it too,” said Fred.
Fred decided to write a book, “Anti-Bullying Through Sports.” In the book, Fred uses sports language to help students, and parents, understand what bullying is, and what they can do to prevent it.
“It kind of chose me. I talked about how I was dyslexic, and I was teased a lot in elementary school, but we didn’t use the term bullying back then. And I had a learning disorder and stuff, but I also noticed when I hit that growth spurt and started playing sports, I didn’t have those issues,” said Fred.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor even recognized Fred as a hero.
“I wouldn’t go as far as saying a hero because there are a lot of things I still want to do, and plan to accomplish, and I know I can’t do it alone,” said Fred.
Now, Fred is working on a follow up to “Anti-Bullying Through Sports,” focusing on mental health. In the book, he also includes QR codes to scan to view bullying resources in your state, and area.