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Douglas E. Abrams

Professor Douglas E. AbramsYouth sports expert

Douglas E. Abrams is a law professor at the University of Missouri and a nationally recognized youth sports expert. A youth hockey coach for more than 40 years, Prof. Abrams is a prolific author and lecturer on youth sports, including sportsmanship, character development, and community sports programs. He is also interviewed frequently on radio and television. Prof. Abrams recently wrote "Achieving Equal Opportunity in Youth Sports," a blueprint for maintaining equitable sports programs for all children. It appears as a chapter in the book, "Learning Culture Through Sports" (Rowman & Littlefield 2010).


As a varsity hockey goalie at Wesleyan University, Prof. Abrams set an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III record for most saves in a game (64) and was the first Wesleyan hockey player named to the weekly ECAC All-East team. For more than 40 years, he has coached youth hockey teams at all age levels, and has been a goalie coach at camps and clinics. He now writes and speaks about sportsmanship, character development, and equal opportunity for children who wish to play in community sports programs.

In 1990, Prof. Abrams created the first organized youth hockey teams in mid-Missouri. During his eleven-year tenure as president of the mid-Missouri youth hockey program, the program grew from nineteen players to 180, while enrolling every interested child, encouraging beginners, fully involving each player in every practice and game, and stressing citizenship education through community service projects that the players selected and performed.

Over the years, his teams collected toys and stuffed animals for the University of Missouri Children's Hospital, collected new and used backpacks for abused and neglected children in the local family court, collected cans of food for mid-Missouri food banks that serve needy families, and conducted children's book drives for county health department clinics. For their charitable initiatives, his teams won the 2006 Honoring the Game Award, presented by the Positive Coaching Alliance at Stanford University. The Governor issued a proclamation stating that his teams had "brought honor to Missouri," and a local newspaper called one of his teams "a philanthropic organization on skates."

Prof. Abrams recently wrote "Achieving Equal Opportunity in Youth Sports," an essay that presents a blueprint for maintaining equitable community sports programs. The essay appears as a chapter in the book, "Learning Culture Through Sports" (Rowman & Littlefield 2010).

The Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader has called Prof. Abrams "one of the people who help serve as the conscience for anyone involved in youth sports," and "a nationally known authority on youth sports." He is a Champion of the Positive Coaching Alliance, and he serves on the Expert Panel of the Center for Sports Parenting, which is part of the Institute for International Sport at the University of Rhode Island. In 1998, he received the Citation of Merit from the Missouri Park and Recreation Association.Doug Abrams coaching youth hockey

Teaching and Public Service

Prof. Abrams teaches family law, children and the law, constitutional law, and American legal history at the University of Missouri. He holds a B.A. summa cum laude from Wesleyan University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received the Scholar-Athlete Award. He earned his law degree at Columbia.

Prof. Abrams has written or co-authored four books about Family Law and Children and the Law, and the books are required reading in more than one-third of the nation's law schools. The U.S. Supreme Court has quoted from his law review articles in four decisions. With his book royalties, he has created the Happiness For Health (HFH) program, a permanent endowment that provides toys, stuffed animals and games for the sick and injured children at the University of Missouri Children's Hospital. HFH also provides parties for children hospitalized on their birthdays and other special occasions.

As a member of the Missouri Bar Commission on Children and the Law, Prof. Abrams drafted fourteen laws enacted by the Missouri legislature to improve the lives of the state's children. He serves on the bipartisan 15-member Advisory Board of the Missouri Division of Youth Services, which is considered to be the nation's finest statewide juvenile justice treatment agency. He also serves on the board of directors of the Missouri Juvenile Justice Association, which promotes justice for the state's children, youth and families.

In 1994, Prof. Abrams received the Meritorious Service to the Children of America Award, presented by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges to recognize his public service. In 2000, the Missouri Bar Foundation honored him for outstanding service to the cause of justice. At the University of Missouri law school, he has received the Administration of Justice, Distinguished Faculty Achievement, and Teacher-of-the-Year awards.  

Most recently, Prof. Abrams was awarded the Excellence in Safety Award presented by USA Hockey, the sport's national governing body. He is the first lawyer and law professor to receive the award, which usually recognizes a nationally known physician or medical researcher for "outstanding contributions through many years of service to make hockey a safer game for all participants."