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Sport for healing
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When bad things happen to a person they leave a mark.  For some people, the mark fades over time and they return to regular functioning. However, for many people, the experiences are so intense or so pervasive, that the mark becomes a wound. And that wound causes permanent changes to a person.  This is what is called trauma.  

Breakthrough research on the brain has helped us to understand the deeply damaging impact these experiences have on a person’s development.  In essence, the brain gets rewired.  This rewiring is the source of the feelings, thoughts, and actions that can pull someone into a vicious downward spiral in their lives.   They get stuck.

To break free from this spiral, people need to be given the chance to experience more of the following:

  • A sense of safety and security

  • More consistent regulation of their emotions and actions

  • A connection to people who look out and care for them 

  • Opportunities to feel skilled and successful

  • Experiences that promote choice-making and a sense of control of their lives

  • Ways to break out of feeling stuck in the past, and living in the present; even having a future, hopeful focus

  • A re-connection to and joy in using their bodies on their terms


Take a close look at this list of core needs for a person affected by trauma to heal. Every single one of these is foundational to a well-run sport experience. 


Since its founding, Edgework has worked at the forefront of the field of sport for healing.  We have been researching and building interventions that test the power of the sport experience to serve as a special medium to help people affected by trauma.

In relation to many traditional types of treatment, including talk therapy, sport stands apart in its ability to have an impact on the physical, emotional and mental well-being of people affected by trauma.  In short, sport can heal.


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Program Design 

There is a transformation that happens when you shift your organization to operate through a trauma-informed lens. An even better version of your sport emerges. With our extensive and ongoing research and expertise in designing sport for healing interventions around the world, we are ready to partner with you, to bring your vision to reality, or take your existing program to the next level of impact. 

Hiring Edgework to create our curriculum is the best investment Grassroot Soccer has ever made. 

Our program is intense because of the genocide impacted population we work with. This makes it even more important that any outside organization understands the combination of sport, gender equality and the delicate circumstances and cultures within which we're working. Edgework provided this unique blend perfectly. The team worked closely with us, listening as we explained our needs, helping us conceptualize how to make a lasting impact. It's rare in this line of work to find a group that can help you conceptualize what you want to do and then help you execute it, too. It's even more rare to work with a group that does it as well as they do and has always over delivered in the work they have produced for us! That's exactly why we love working with Edgework. Kids Play International

Staff & Coach Training

For two decades, and across four continents, Edgework has proudly served social change organizations by developing and sharpening the skills of their staff and coaches. We take our extensive research on trauma, healing, and sport, and deliver an unparalleled constructive training experience. There is nothing like an Edgework training for engagement, learning, skill-building and fun! 

Edgework Consulting designed a tailored framework curriculum and staff training to build our capacity in trauma-informed design principles of sport for healing. As an organization that works solely with women and girls in areas of conflict, I cannot stress enough how important these practices are to incorporate into our daily activities. Through helping us to create and develop sport for healing tools and resources, and subsequently training our staff in how to use them, our participants feel more supported and are better able to connect our activities with coping mechanisms they can use in their day to day lives.  Free To Run

The training itself is very informative, and highly interactive, and we’ve been able to incorporate trauma-informed practise into our work nationally – which means that we are delivering high quality program to children and youth across Canada.  Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada






Coaches Participated in Edgework Designed Trainings
Programs Implemented
Youth Impacted
Countries Worked In




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Lou Bergholz founded Edgework Consulting in 2001.  He is fascinated by the ways people evolve and change over the course of their lifetimes. His focus and attention centers around what happens when development is disrupted, delayed or challenged, and how people find their way through these obstacles.

He believes in evidence-based practice and combining that with the most current research available. Bergholz enjoys testing the limits of what we think can work, and taking calculated risks that push the boundaries of what is possible.  

Lou has designed curriculum and programs, and pushed the limits on what it means for sport to be a healing mechanism in collaboration with several sport for development organizations. From providing resources to youth workers in post-Tsunami Thailand, to designing an out-of-school mental health program in Gaza, he has seen firsthand the creative and impactful ways that sport can enable healing.

Lou graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies.



Maren is entering her 6th year of work with Edgework. She is involved with several of Edgework Consulting’s trauma-informed interventions with a passion for the power of sport to heal.  She has worked with Kids Play International, Legacy Youth Tennis, Newtown Parks and Recreation Department, Spirit of Soccer, Up2Us, Washington Nationals Baseball Academy, Free to Run, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.


Prior to her time at Edgework Consulting, Maren spent 21 years in full-time coaching women’s soccer at the university and professional levels.  She has been a clinician at the NSCAA National convention, holds her USSF ‘A’ license and NSCAA ‘Advanced National’ diploma.  Maren has been working with US Youth National teams at the U16 and U18 age groups for the past few years.


Maren is a graduate of The College of William and Mary where she earned a B.S. in fine art.  She also earned her M.A. in art education at Syracuse University.



In the Sport and Youth Development Sectors

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