The youth sports community—including parents, schools, athletes and coaches—has shown tremendous resilience in the last few years. Despite the difficulties brought on by the pandemic, it has continued to provide children and adolescents opportunities to stay engaged in competitive and recreational sports.
At McGill Athletics and Recreation, which includes the Sport Medicine Clinic, youth sports are encouraged because of the numerous benefits associated with being active at a young age. Youth athletes who engage in sports not only experience the well-documented cardiovascular health benefits of being active but also benefit from the social and character-building experience of being part of a team1. Moreover, sports, whether competitive or recreational, allow for the development of fundamental life skills, such as leadership, time-management, sportsmanship and accountability, which are invaluable for youngsters as they develop their identities. Knowing this, we all need to be advocates for the young members of our society. We need to take active roles to ensure our youth have equal access and opportunities to be more active and to be healthy. This can be achieved by making sports more inclusive, integrating more green space into our local communities, promoting investment into after-school programs, increasing planned physical activity time in students’ schedules, and helping to organize and coach community teams.
The evidence is clear. Kids gain a lot from being active, which translates into a better quality of life for them and those around them. For this reason, let’s all do our part to help all kids participate in sports by broadening access, opportunity and inclusiveness.
Mickey Moroz, MDCM, CCFP (SEM), Dip. Sport Med., M. Ed.
Canadian Sport and Exercise Physician
McGill University Department of Family Medicine Clinical Teacher
1 - Health.gov. 2022. National Youth Sports Strategy | health.gov. [online] Available at: https://health.gov/our-work/nutrition-physical-activity/national-youth-s... [Accessed May 2022].
The original source of this article can be taken from the following link (pages 98-99): https://issuu.com/montrealensante/docs/mes_v14n3_web?fr=sMjNiMzUxMjczODE