Over the last twenty years working with Middle School athletes, I have learned the value of keeping kids active and instilling the importance of lifetime sports at a young age. Often, the lessons learned off the field are greater than the skills and strategies of the game. Many times, these life lessons are so much more impactful than just reaping the benefits of exercise.
Too many times, headlines revolve around negative behavior taking place at sporting events involving coaches, players, parents or spectators. As a lifelong athlete and career educator in the field of physical education and athletics, my experiences in sports as a participant, teacher, coach, and athletic director have been many, and varied. I have experienced, and witnessed, winning and losing at all levels.
Early in my high school career, I became aware that others are always looking to see how those in leadership positions react to difficult and trying circumstances. I watched my team captains and coaches to gauge a proper reaction to trying times on the fields and courts. I have carried this lesson with me throughout my career, knowing that teammates, players, parents, spectators, and other coaches will closely observe my reaction to a “blown call”, a big loss or a thrilling victory. I have learned that the reaction of the leader, in situations good or bad, clearly sets the tone for all of those around him/her.
From the big screen, to NFL fields, to high school gymnasiums across the country, the buzz about concussions is getting louder. Just as our awareness is increasing, our tools for evaluation are improving. So is our understanding of why it’s important to give students the time they need to fully recover. Their futures depend on it!
Concussion rates represent a high proportion of all injuries sustained by athletes. In the United States, an estimated 3.8 million concussions occur each year as a result of sport and physical activity.
Schools, parents, and physicians want to work together to keep students safe while they play hard and have fun. That’s why there is greater emphasis on information and prevention, knowing each student’s baseline, and responding swiftly and cautiously when concussions occur. Here are some best practices to consider.
Research shows that students perform better in school when they are physically and emotionally healthy.
That’s why the national organization SHAPE America (Society for Health and Physical Educators) believes in educating the whole child. Their main focus is on children’s physical development and athletic skills, integrating these things into a well-rounded school day that offers kids opportunities to be active.
Physical education classes and participation on sports teams both provide knowledge and experience in different activities and address the social aspects of children's development. Recess, too, offers important opportunities for kids to be active, solve problems, and build skills, friendships, independence, and confidence. Physical activity also contributes to a greater sense of well-being, which has far-reaching benefits of its own.
It is essential to keep kids moving inside the classroom, as well. Studies have shown that information is solidified in the brain when the body moves. Why? Because exercise fuels the brain with oxygen, which helps make connections with the learned material. So next time your child needs to study for a test, maybe suggest that they get up and work out some dance moves while reviewing the material.