Working Together: The return of youth sports

Working Together: The return of youth sports


Sports activities are so vital for the growth, development, and overall well-being of our youth. From the practices and games to the social interaction with coaches and bonding with teammates, the life lessons that accompany participation are precious. 

And we’ve seen the staggering consequences when those opportunities are taken away. 

As programs were forced to shut down in big cities and small towns across the country due to COVID-19 the isolation caused tremendous damage. Studies detail dramatic increases in anxiety and depression among our youth, and sadly, many remain disengaged today. 

Now, with the Delta variant affecting young age groups, providing quality and safe programs for kids has become more challenging than ever. 

And so vital that we all work together to do it right.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports on its website: “The Delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than earlier forms of the virus that causes COVID-19. It might cause more severe illness than previous strains in unvaccinated people.”

As the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) celebrates its 40th year as one of the nation’s leading advocates for the power of sports in kids’ lives, it is our hope that we can unite to create the safest environments possible for children and teens, as well as for all the amazing volunteer coaches, parents, and recreation leaders whose dedication and tireless efforts help programs flourish in their communities. 

“While vaccinations continue to be a polarizing issue in society today, it is our hope that adults involved in youth sports in any capacity make the decision to get vaccinated,” said John Engh, executive director of NAYS. “Like everyone else, we want youth sports programs to resume to normal everywhere as safely and quickly as possible, and we believe vaccinations are an important piece in doing so.”

There are many outstanding organizations doing terrific work in this area. Among them: the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has its COVID-19 Public Education Campaign, We Can Do This; and the National Federation of State High School Associations has its #DontMissYourShot social media effort; among many others.

The CDC provides many valuable resources, including Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines. Plus, medical experts and doctors in communities around the country are terrific resources for any questions and concerns.

We all want youth sports back to normal in our communities so kids and teens can experience all the wonderful benefits that sports provide and be able to cherish the memories of their participation for a lifetime. We look forward to working together to make it happen.

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