Resources and SafeSport - ACA


Resources and SafeSport

The ACA is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for paddlesports

The ACA is committed to supporting our athletes at all levels of competition. The U.S. Center for SafeSport and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee also offer resources to support our athletes. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) also manages the United States anti-doping program, including in-competition and out-of competition testing and provides tools and tips to help athletes at all levels navigate their anti-doping rights and responsibilities.

American Canoe Association Athlete Resources

The ACA Athlete Code of Conduct is the guide to acceptable behavior for paddlesport athletes competing domestically and internationally, whether or not the athlete is a member of a USA National Team (“Team”). Acceptance of its provisions is a condition of competing domestically and, at the national and international levels, and of selection to any National Team. Therefore, all ACA competition athlete participants must review and electronically sign this document as part of the Join/Renew process. This includes athletes participating in all ICF disciplines.

Grievance Process

Violations of the Code of Conduct should be reported to the ACA Executive Director through the ACA Grievance process as documented in the Grievance Policy. Alleged violations can be reported directly to the Executive Director or via this electronic form. Alleged Code of Conduct violations can be reported here.

ACA Athlete Representatives

Competition members of the ACA elect athlete representatives to the ACA Board of Directors and to the USOPC’s Athlete Advisory Council. In addition to serving as a member of these governing bodies, these representatives are resources to our athletes.

USOPC Athlete Advisory Council

  • ACA Representative: Kenny Kasperbauer
  • ACA Alternate: Michal Smolen

ACA Board of Directors:

  • Elite Athletes’ Sprint Director to the ACA Board: Thom Crockett
  • Elite Athletes’ Slalom Director to the ACA Board: Zach Lokken
  • Elite Athlete’s Paracanoe Director to the ACA Board: Jack Wallace

Background Checks

An important component of ACA’s effort to provide a safe and healthy environment for all competition participants is regular background checks of adults within the competition community who (a) serve in a position of authority over or (b) have regular contact with athletes. This includes ACA staff, officials, coaches, board members, trainers, medical personnel and volunteers in certain roles. Volunteers (18 years and older) who are accompanying athletes on a domestic or international canoe/kayak event must complete and pass the NCSI background check prior to departure of the trip.  Detailed information about the Background Check Policy is available here.

To initiate the background check process:

It is important when entering your name, that you use your full legal name as written on your current ID (state driver’s license, passport or driver’s license, passport or state ID with name and DOB). Please also verify that your social security number was typed correctly. Using nicknames or failing to type a correct social security number may delay or invalidate your background check.

NCSI will contact you directly if there are any questions, problems or issues related to your specific information. An email address is required when completing the background check as our contact with you will largely be electronic. Please be sure to add to your list of acceptable domains in your email program to receive notifications from us.

If you have any questions or problems submitting your information, please email or call the NCSI at (440) 542-9833 or toll free (866) 833-7100. Once you have submitted your information you will receive a confirmation page with a 16- digit Applicant ID Number. The background check generally takes 10 business days to complete and you may check your status on our website under the “Check Your Background Screening Status” link at Thank you for your cooperation in this important process.

U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee

The USOPC offers an abundance of services to athletes, and the ACA suggests that any athlete seeking assistance from the USOPC should start with the Office of the Ombuds which can be reached by telephone at 719-866-5000 or email at

The Office of the Athlete Ombuds and its staff (the Athlete Ombuds) offers independent, confidential advice to athletes regarding their rights and responsibilities in the Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and assists athletes with a broad range of questions, disputes, complaints and concerns. The Athlete Ombuds’ focus is to serve athletes who represent the U.S. in international competition. The Athlete Ombuds operates on the core principles of confidentiality and privacy, independence, and impartiality.

Principles Of The Athlete Ombuds


  1. The Athlete Ombuds maintains as confidential any information communicated or provided in confidence in any matter involving the exercise of their official duties.
  2. The Athlete Ombuds will not testify or produce evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding with respect to any matter involving the exercise of their official duties.
  3. The Athlete Ombuds treats all work product, memoranda, notes or case files as confidential. Such information is not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal  compulsion, and is not admissible as evidence in a judicial or administrative proceeding.
  4. The Athlete Ombuds maintains and prepares data and/or reports in a manner that protects confidentiality and privacy.
  5. These confidentiality and privacy provisions shall not apply to:
    • Information necessary to communicate, mediate or resolve a concern or dispute, with the permission of the athletes involved;
    • Applicable reporting requirements under federal law and/or the policies of the U.S. Center for SafeSport;
    • A felony personally witnessed;
    • A situation in which an individual is at imminent risk of serious harm;
    • A congressional subpoena;
    • The general operation and processes of the Athlete Ombuds; and/or
    • Responding to an official investigation or allegation concerning the conduct of the Athlete Ombuds in exercising its official duties.
  1. The Athlete Ombuds maintains these confidentiality and privacy provisions on their website and distributes to employees of each National Governing Body (NGB) and the USOPC.
  2. Each NGB shall publish these confidentiality and privacy provisions on its website and communicate to athletes their availability.

U.S. Center for Safe Sport

The U.S. Center for SafeSport is an independent nonprofit committed to building a sport community where participants can safely work and learn together. The Center develops resources and policies to safeguard athletes from bullying, harassment, hazing, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct. It is the exclusive authority to respond to reports of allegations of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct within the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and their recognized National Governing Bodies (NGBs). Learn more by reading the Safe Sport Code.

If You Need Immediate Help

If you need support or assistance at any time, you can contact the 24-hour SafeSport Helpline at 866-200-0796.

If you are facing a life-threatening emergency, contact 911.

Specialists for the Helpline (operated by RAINN) can provide confidential, one-on-one live support by phone, chat, or mobile app including crisis intervention, referrals, and emotional support specifically designed for athletes, staff, and other SafeSport participants affected by sexual violence.

ACA Requirements for SafeSport Education and Training

ACA adult members who are (a) in a position of authority over or (b) have regular contact with amateur athletes who are minors are now required to complete the initial 90-Minute SafeSport™ Core training. Additional (20-minute) refresher trainings are required annually.

This specifically includes:

  • Adult athletes (18 years and older) traveling to sanctioned national and international competition
  • Officials & Judges
  • Coaches
  • Professional medical personnel (outside of a hospital or doctor’s office setting), including Doctors, Physicians Assistants, Physiologists, Physical Therapists, Massage Therapists, and Psychologists
  • Adult Volunteers traveling domestically and internationally with teams
  • ACA Staff
  • Board of Directors
  • Instructors or PAC Members with regular contact and/or authority over minors

ACA SafeSport Resources:

How to Complete SafeSport Training

Returning SafeSport users log in at:   

First-time SafeSport users Create an ACA SafeSport Account 

Adult Participants must complete the initial 90-minute SafeSport Trained Core course.  Maintain training by completing an annual ~20-minute Refresher course.  The next required course should appear in the courses section of your profile within 60 days of your previous certificate’s expiration.

For optional minor athlete (17 and younger) and parent online training, the Center offers several age-appropriate modules.

Minor Athlete Consent Forms

Please review the forms below to determine whether any apply.

Read the forms carefully and complete any applicable areas. Note that not all areas of each form will apply, but that each form requires a signature on the last page to be valid.

Minor Athlete General Consent Form – Required for individual training (page 2) or one-on-one transportation (page 5) with an Adult Participant.

Lodging Consent Form – Required if minor athlete will be lodging with an Adult Participant.

Minor Athlete Dual Relationship Consent Form – Examples of dual relationships (where a relationship exists outside sport) include but are not limited to family members, family friends, and teachers.  Form required for one-on-one interactions (pages 3 and 7), transportation (page 4), lodging (pages 5 and 6), or electronic communication (page 8) with an Adult Participant where a dual relationship exists.

To Report Suspected Sexual Abuse or Misconduct

The U.S. Center for SafeSport handles ALL reports of sexual abuse within the Olympic and Paralympic Movement. Make a report to the Center if you have a reasonable suspicion of sexual misconduct such as child sex abuse, non-consensual sexual conduct, sexual harassment, or intimate relationships involving an imbalance of power.

You may report anonymously. No direct fees or other cost is involved with making a SafeSport report.

You may submit a digital report to SafeSport or call SafeSport at 1-833-587-7233 (24 hours, with an operator available Mon-Fri 8-4).

All reports of child abuse or sexual assault of a minor must also be reported to local authorities. Reports of abuse not involving a minor may also be reported to local authorities.

For more information or to submit a complaint to the ACA please follow this link.

To Report Emotional or Physical Misconduct

Other forms of misconduct, such as emotional or physical misconduct, bullying, hazing, harassment, or violations of the minor athlete abuse prevention policies, can be reported to SafeSport, the ACA, or to both.

If SafeSport declines jurisdiction of a complaint, the ACA will then take on jurisdiction of the complaint and will follow the ACA Response and Resolution policy. There is no fee to submit a report.

To report electronically to the ACA, complete this form or contact the ACA Executive Director. To report anonymously, please enter “Anonymous” in the first and last name fields.

Response and Resolution

When a report of abuse or misconduct is submitted to the ACA, a series of steps is initiated to assess and resolve fairly and efficiently the issue brought forth.

ACA Response and Resolution Policy and Process

Suspended and Permanently Ineligible ACA Member List

Membership in the ACA is a privilege and not a right. In order to retain this privilege, members must comply with the published Code of Conduct and other provisions of the Code. That privilege can be withdrawn by the ACA at any time where a member’s conduct is determined to be inconsistent with the best interest of the sport and of the athletes we are serving.

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is the national anti-doping organization in the United States for Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, and Parapan American sport. The organization is charged with managing the anti-doping program, including in-competition and out-of competition testing, results management processes, drug reference resources, and athlete education for all USOPC national governing bodies, their athletes, and events. Additionally, USADA contributes to the advancement of clean sport through scientific research and education & outreach initiatives focused on awareness and prevention.

  • Athlete Guide to Anti-Doping
  • USOPC National Anti-Doping Policy
  • Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE): USADA has created a TUE Pre-Check Form to help athletes determine if they need to apply for a TUE. This form lets the athlete provide key pieces of information before they visit their primary care provider, allowing USADA to closely work with the athlete to ensure that frustrations with incomplete applications can be avoided and they get one-on-one service from the Drug Reference Team.
  • TUE Frequently Asked Questions

Travel Resources

ACA’s International Travel Requirements

All teams and athletes traveling internationally on official ACA trips to train or compete are required to complete the following prior to departure:


  • Submit the Athlete Code of Conduct to the ACA (PDF)
  • If 18 years of age or older, must be current with US Center for SafeSport training requirements
  • Successfully pass the NCSI Background Check
  • Must agree to register your whereabouts with the U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) while traveling for international events at:

Coaches, Team Leaders, and Volunteers

  • Must be current with US Center for SafeSport training requirements.
  • Successfully pass the NCSI Background Check
  • Must agree to register your whereabouts with the U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) while traveling for international events at:


Delta is now the Official Airline of Team USA! In support of the National Governing Bodies (NGB), Delta is working with the ACA to create a custom travel plan to meet the needs of every athlete and staff member.

We will continue to update this page with specific information on this program as we confirm more of the logistics with Delta.


Paracanoe Classification

Classification provides a structure for Paralympic competition. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has adopted a universal classification code in order to facilitate the implementation of accurate, reliable, and credible sport-specific classification systems. The classification process determines who is eligible to compete in a Paralympic sport and it groups the eligible athletes in sport classes according to their activity limitation in a certain sport.  For more information about Paralympic classification and the IPC Athlete Classification Code, please visit the IPC Classification Webpage.. 

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) is the international federation for canoe sport. The ICF is responsible for creating and implementing the rules and regulations that govern the Paracanoe classification system.  For more information about the Paracanoe classification system, rules and regulations, please visit the ICF Paracanoe Classification Webpage. 

The American Canoe Association (ACA) is the national governing body for Paracanoe in the USA.   

ICF Classification Eligibility

The IPC recognizes ten eligible impairments as described in the International Standards for Eligible Impairments within the Paralympic Movement. 

The ICF includes three of these eligible impairments within the sport of Paracanoe: impaired muscle power, limb deficiency, and impaired passive range of movement.  There are currently 3 sport classes in canoe and 3 sport classes in Va’a which can be found on the ICF website.


National Classification and Opportunities

The ACA follows the national classification policies and procedures of U.S. Paralympics, in that all Paracanoe national classifications conducted in the United States fall under the governance of U.S. Paralympics as the National Paralympic Committee for the United States.  For more information about the national classification policies and procedures, please visit the U.S. Paralympics Classification Policies and Procedures Webpage.  

All athletes who are interested in racing in paracanoe at the national level must attend an event where classification is being offered, which most likely will be Canoe Sprint/Paracanoe National Team Trials.  The national classification sport classes and evaluation processes are the same as those used by the ICF.  The idea behind the USA having a national level classification system is so that athletes can first be seen by a USA classification panel and can be placed into the correct sport class. This will help mitigate uncertainty when an athlete goes to compete in international events and is evaluated by an international classification panel. 


How it works for our athletes: 

  • Register for an event where classification is being offered 
  • ACA will assign you a specific classification appointment time in advance of this event 
  • Prior to traveling to the event, see your Medical Doctor and have him/her fill out the Paracanoe Athletes Diganosis Form. 
  • Bring this document and all your racing equipment to your appointment 
  • Classifiers will assign you a sport class to race in the event 
  • Classifiers will then observe you in competition during the race 
  • After observation the classification panel will finalize your national sport class and sport class status 


If a classification team cannot be assembled at a national event, and virtual classification is not satisfactory, arrangements may be made to meet with a medical classifier. Contact for more information. 

Frequently, athletes can be assigned a presumed sport class or declared ineligible based upon the certificate of diagnosis and other medical records; consultation with the coach, athlete, or parent; photographs or video of the athlete in or out of the boat; or classification documents from other Para sports.