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March 31, 2020

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Students benefit from education-based athletics

As director of Athletics at Concordia International School Shanghai, I often have to defend investments schools put into athletics. Couldn’t those time, energy and financial investments be used more wisely? The answer is an emphatic no! Research has found that students who participate in education-based athletics receive a host of benefits that provide a lasting, positive impact on the rest of their lives.

The purpose of education-based athletics is child growth and development. Important soft skills such as leadership, teamwork and communication, with perseverance and sportsmanship are taught on a daily basis through sport. While some of these principles can be learned passively through participation, trained coaches and administrators intentionally focus on these qualities throughout a season.

The National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) collated significant research on the subject and found that team participation provides benefits for students. Benefits include better GPAs, test scores and college admittance rates, on top of behavioral benefits — student-athletes were less likely to use drugs and alcohol or become a teen parent.

Finally, several studies have shown that student athletes attain higher levels of education and earn a higher income later in life. Ninety-five percent of male Fortune 500 CEO’s identified themselves as having participated in athletics, while 80 percent of female executives said the same thing — this is despite only 57 percent of students taking part. For more information, the NFHS provides online education and free courses for parents and students.


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