Medical Study Proves Youth Sports are Crucial to Mental Health

Medical Study Proves Youth Sports are Crucial to Mental Health

Parents, families, coaches, and local leaders like Kristin Gaspar have known this for a long time. Youth sports and group activities are essential for physical and mental well-being.

We now have a medical study backing up what families have been saying for months.

Youth Sports are Essential

Elite Club National League’s Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Drew Watson announced a study demonstrating the recent impacts of inactivity on on young athletes.

The rate of depression has MORE THAN TRIPLED among adolescent athletes from 2019 to May 2020.

Dr. Watson explained:

We found dramatic increases in depression in adolescent athletes since the start of the pandemic. Prior to 2020, approximately 10% of the surveyed adolescent athletes reported moderate to severe symptoms of depression. In May … this number had more than tripled to 33%. In addition, 25% of the adolescent athletes surveyed reported moderate or severe symptoms of anxiety. … The potential psychological consequences of prolonged isolation and physical inactivity in kids should not be minimized.

The risk of COVID-19 for Young Soccer Players

Do young soccer players transmit the COVID-19 virus during a soccer game? Dr. Watson said,

With respect to soccer, early data seems to suggest that the time spent in close proximity to other players during a soccer game is limited and falls far below the duration that is felt to represent sufficient exposure to result in viral transmission.

Balancing Risks

Happy Champions

Health risks related to COVID-19 can not completely overrule the risks to young athletes’ mental health. A balance must be found before an entire generation of young people becomes overrun with depression, isolation, inactivity, and anxiety.

The dangers of COVID-19 are real, and we should work to develop and embrace risk mitigation strategies that can reduce transmission within youth sports environments. In doing so, we must also recognize the profound negative consequences that social isolation, restriction from sport, and the loss of physical activity can have for children.

Read Dr. Watson’s entire report here

What can families do to help their young athletes return to the field?

California families can contact Governor Gavin Newsom:

Use this link to send Governor Gavin Newsom a message about getting kids back to the fields:

Stay healthy, and stay safe. We’ll see you on the field soon!