According to Stanford Children’s Health, playing sports has a range of physical, emotional, and interpersonal benefits:
"All kids need is a little help, a little hope, and somebody who believes in them." - Magic Johnson
Sports provide numerous clearly defined benefits for children.
Success as a team member and an athlete builds confidence and self-esteem.
Playing on a team means learning to work with others and support them.
Learning the rules of the game, respect for coaches and referees, and how to stay positive even when losing are all valuable life lessons.
Obesity is increasing in children, but data show that kids who are more active, especially after school, are more likely to be of normal weight.
Sports participation helps with coordination and learning new skills.
Playing sports is a source of joy for children.
Spending consistent time together as a team fosters the development of friends and support systems.
Further research compiled by health.gov has shown additional benefits of sports:
- High school athletes who regularly play sports are less likely to use drugs
- Female high school athletes are 80% less likely to become pregnant than non-athletes
- Athletes have higher grade point averages, higher standardized test scores, better attendance, lower dropout rates, and a better chance of going to college
- Youth who participate in sports are more likely to be physically active as adults, allowing them to reap lifelong health benefits including decreased all-cause mortality
There is an opportunity divide.
2 in 3 system-impacted families have difficulty meeting basic financial needs as a direct result of incarceration; 70% of these families have children under the age of 18. Moreover, familial incarceration is more prevalent in lower income households: 53% of people making $0 – $24,000 per year have had an immediate family member incarcerated vs. 33% of those making $100,000+.
Further research shows that children in US households with below-median annual income are 2.2X more likely to have no participation in sports, arts, or clubs than children with above-median annual income. Therefore, participation in sports (which requires paying expensive league fees, equipment costs, and transportation costs) is particularly financially challenging to CIPs and their families.
CIPs can greatly benefit from participation in sports.
The CDC recognizes parental incarceration as an ‘Adverse Childhood Experience’ uniquely distinguished from other adverse experiences because of the unique combination of shame, trauma, and stigma, with CIPs experiencing a 2X increase in risk of mental health challenges. 1 in 14 U.S. children have had a parent incarcerated at some point in their lifetime.
Black children have had a parent incarcerated at some point in their lifetime
The average decrease in family income when a father becomes incarcerated
Children in US households with below-median annual income are 2.2X more likely to have no participation in sports
The average annual family spending on one child per sport per year
Physically active children are 15% more likely to go to college
Decrease in risk of becoming obese when a child becomes physically active
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