While there has been some focus on physical abuse in the general child abuse literature, there have been few studies examining the physical abuse of children in sport. This article focuses mainly on peer physical harm in sport. However, we argue that to fully understand physical harm between young people in sport requires understanding: (1) the ‘sporting ethos’ prevalent in sport where training and competing to the limits of physicality are part of the culture; and (2) the physical harm that occurs between coaches and young people as a context for understanding physical harm between young people. Results are based on a convenience sample of 6124 young people (age 18–22) who completed an online survey about their experiences of participating in sport as children; 89 follow-up interviews were conducted with a sub-set of these young people. Findings suggest that in sport, where training and competing to the limits of physicality are inherent to sporting achievement, physical harm is common and takes on a different form to physical harm of children in other settings. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.