Youth participation in sports has shown a steady decline over recent years in the USA. ‘Almost 45 percent of children ages 6 to 12 played a team sport regularly in 2008, according to Aspen data. Now  only about 37 percent of children do,’ reported the Washington Post. The big four all saw declining participants namely, football, soccer, basketball, and baseball. Should the trend continue, we are bound to see an increase in diseases related to physical inactivity. Below are some of the problems kids in the US face if they want to start training.
It comes as no surprise that those of lower socio-economic status just cannot afford to pay for registration fees, equipment, and travel costs. 34.6% of children that came from families that made less than $25,000 per annum showed up for at least one day of team sports in a year, compared to 68.4% of kids coming from families that make at least $100,000 per annum.
The Sports and Fitness Industry Association in Aspen surmise that there is a strong correlation between having money and playing sports. These figures, however, do not take into consideration just how much sport is being played outside of sports clubs. Because those coming from the lower socio-economic group do not have the resources to finance club-level play they may instead opt to play outdoors, in the field, or on a public basketball court.
Where To Play?
Apparently even public spaces are taking a hit. Sports facilities are usually few in number and demand is always around, the costs of these facilities have outpriced the have-nots. Moreover, sports clubs that wish to operate under a tight budget usually save money and cut corners.
Lack of Coaches
Professionally trained coaches are hard to come by, which is normal – if they have the requisite qualifications why not train athletes in the NFL. Few coaches are medically trained or even know CPR and those that do know the tricks of the trade would like to be reimbursed for their expertise.
Health Benefits of Sports for Children
Young children need sports to remain healthy and have an outlet for all that energy we envy them for. The physical activity helps to prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity – all of which are correlated with inactivity. Furthermore, sports help foster varied relationships with children that would not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet.
Mental health comes hand in hand with physical health and there are too many benefits to list them all here. But at times like these, we need to strongly consider ways in which to bring in the have-nots into sports. The disenfranchised are already left out from premium healthcare and usually do not have the means to alleviate the severe medical conditions that they may currently be in. Now, they lack the means of preventing those diseases by something as simple as a sports club that all children should be able to enjoy.