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Using fall sports to help kids physically and mentally

Being more active has a huge impact on kids' mental health

SAN ANTONIO — Aside from giving their kids opportunities for physical fitness and socialization, local parents now have additional motivation to sign their children up for youth sports this fall.

A recent national study reveals kids who participate in team sports were less likely to have signs of anxiety, depression, withdrawal, and social or attention problems compared to children involved in individual sports. Researchers stress it’s critical to re-engage kids in sports, especially after pandemic shutdowns.  

The growing attention on the mental health of our youth is one of the reasons the coaches at Skyhawks Sports, a local organization providing sports camps for children ages 4-14, are seeing a spike in the number of signups for fall sports. 

By the numbers, the results of the study comes at a time in which the number of youths, both children and teens, are experiencing an alarming increase in mental health issues

  • 10.6% of youth, or more than 2.5 million, are dealing with severe major depression. That’s an increase of nearly 200,000 kids from 2021. 
  • Anxiety disorders affect 31.9% of adolescents between 13 and 18 years old. 
  • 70% of U.S. public schools see an increase in students seeking mental health services since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • According to WHO around 20% of children and adolescents have a mental health condition.
  • Texas ranks 50th out of 51 states (and the District of Columbia) in access to mental healthcare for children and adults, and the situation is far worse for lower income communities like the South Side of San Antonio.
  • More than 500,000 Texas children were diagnosed with anxiety or depression in 2020, an increase of 23% from just a few years earlier, according to data released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The camps offer a variety of sports instruction for children (such as baseball, basketball, cheerleading, lacrosse, tennis, volleyball, etc.) while emphasizing critical lessons such as teamwork, respect, and sportsmanship.

  • Their coaches believe in the many benefits that kids gain through team sports, including leadership, inclusion, and positive mental well-being.

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