5 Reasons Youth Participation Is Down in Sports

By Matt Swenson, December 15, 2016

Coaches, parents and sports planners can testify to the drop in youth playing athletics. It’s the mission of Tom Cove, president and CEO of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, to reverse the trend. Not only is it bad for children’s health, it’s bad for the country, he says. That’s why SFIA is lobbying Congress to pass the PHIT Act (Personal Health Investment Today), which would give parents a financial incentive through a tax-free exception to encourage children to be active. Cove addresses the reasons behind the drop.  

Specialization

Three-sport athletes are now playing one sport year-round. A baseball player who used to play football is busy on the diamond in the fall rather than on the gridiron.

It’s Too Much

Youths who start playing on the travel circuit at age 13 are often burned out by 16. It manifests in relationships with parents degrading over long drives to practice or homework not getting done. Even if the love of the game remains, playing too much can lead to early ACL or Tommy John injuries.

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