It’s common knowledge that the cost of youth sports can be steep, but many people may not be aware of how much it’s actually affecting participation. Unfortunately, due to an economy that is on the rebound, a lot of schools have been forced to trim portions of their budgets. When administrators are put in that position, they oftentimes look to their athletic departments to make cuts.
To quantify the effect this has had on youth athletes, the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital explored the topic as part of its National Poll on Children’s Health. The study showed that 61 percent of the respondent’s children who were participating in middle or high school sports were required to pay a fee to be on the team, according to a press release. These athletes were required to pay an average of $93, while the release indicated that 21 percent of the respondent’s children had fees of more than $150.
“We know that participating in school sports offers many benefits to children and teens: higher school achievement, lower dropout rates, improved health, reduced obesity and the development of skills like teamwork and problem-solving,” Sarah Clark, M.P.H., of the University of Michigan and associate director of the poll, said in a statement. “There’s not an athletic director, school administrator or coach out there who doesn’t want every kid to have a chance to participate.”
In addition to the basic participation fees, children must also buy equipment such as Brine soccer balls and Easton bats. While Anthem Sports offers great prices for these items, they still may be out of a child’s budget. Coaches and parents should encourage these young athletes to work together to raise funds that they can use not only to pay to play, they can also have adequate equipment to play with.
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