The Tablet Jr. > October, 2021

By Gabrielle Wilson, Grade 8

Gabrielle WilsonParents and students have been wondering when sports would be coming back to school. Sports are one of the most popular after-school activities throughout schools. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, many after-school activities were canceled due to the risk of infection. Most professional games or well-known sporting events were either canceled or postponed. The International Tokyo Olympics of 2020 was delayed until the summer of 2021. Just like the postponement of the International Tokyo Olympics, other postponements and cancelations prevent people from playing sports. Prior to COVID-19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately “35 to 45 million youth 6 to 18 years of age participated in some form of athletics.” The pandemic has caused a lot of mental and emotional health. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Studies have confirmed that the prevalence of depression and/or anxiety is higher in adolescence since the start of the pandemic.”

Some sports associations have been able to come up with ways to play the sports while following safety precautions against COVID-19. For example, the National Basketball Association(NBA) was able to play sports while knowing the concerns of COVID. They created a bubble that prohibited the players and team staff members from being in the physical presence of all others including their families. This was called the bubble. This shows that people can both be safe and play sports. Unfortunately, this would not be feasible for grade school because students have to return home at the end of the day.

Sports are also beneficial for young athletes’ confidence. As an athlete, I found that being in a team sport helped improve my communication with my peers. It helps make quick decisions. It also helps develop good/positive health habits such as maintaining a proper diet and exercising. Sports also help young athletes who are shy. This will help them come out of their shell.

Most young athletes get along very well with their team. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Time away from teammates and coaches can be hard on athletes both physically and mentally.” Participating in sports also changes a young athlete’s mood positively.

Although there has been an increase of COVID-19 cases in some states for students who participate in youth sports programs, this may be a result of nonadherence to CDC Recommendations. This includes wearing masks and vaccinations for those who are able to.

Will young athletes be able to experience the joys of playing sports again?