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Carter KehnMs. TheinWriting WorkshopDecember 8th, 2017The Effect of Athletics on Academics There is an estimated forty-five million child and adolescent students that participate in athletic activities in school every day (Merkel 1).  On the surface, it appears that children in sports are healthy and happy as they participate in their athletic activities. But like anything, sports have their pros and cons. People are also concerned with the effects that athletics have on a students’ academic performance, and the “dumb jock” is a common stereotype; however, this stereotype does not apply to everyone. Athletics are beneficial to students because they help lead to better academic performance and a better school experience. First of all, athletics can lead to a higher grade point average (GPA). In a study of high school student athletes in Kansas, eighty percent of athletes in the study reported having a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, compared to seventy and a half percent of non-athletes (Lumpkin and Favor 1). In the same study, fifty-two percent of athletes reported having a grade point average of 3.5 or higher (Lumpkin and Favor 1). Another study of three hundred and eighty seniors of a Midwestern high school, one hundred and forty one of which are athletes. They found that the average grade point average of the nonathletes was 2.99, and that of the athletes was 3.28 (Fleming 12). Since a student’s grade point average is the one of the biggest staples of their academic performance, and more athletes report a good grade point average than non-athletes, that means that sports do not get in the way of students’ academic careers. Athletics also enhance students’ time management skills, and therefore help students improve them. With better time management, one can better find an ideal balance for all the events, tasks, and activities that are going on in their life, whether it be school, sports, jobs, family, or friends. In a study of sixty-seven student athletes from South Dakota State University, the students involved in the study were surveyed on whether they believed that playing sports has helped them improve their time management skills. Out of the students who participated in the survey, ninety-one percent believed that playing sports did help them improve their time management skills (Grimit 44). Only five percent believed it did not help them improve their time management skills, and the remaining four percent believed that it neither helped nor harmed their time management skills (Grimit 44). With such a high percentage of the student athletes that were surveyed agreeing that playing sports help them improve their time management skills, that means that athletes can better balance everything out, which means that the students are more than capable of making time for both studying as well as sports. Athletic involvement also leads to a better school experience as well as providing motivation to do better in terms of academics. In the same South Dakota State University study mentioned previously, they also asked the students being surveyed whether or not they believed that their involvement in sports has provided them with the motivation for grade completion and persistence towards graduation, and a majority of the students being surveyed strongly agreed or agreed that their involvement in sports does give them motivation for grade completion and persistence (Grimit 51). Since many of the students agree that their involvement in sports has motivated to pursue better grades, and to pass classes so they can graduate, then the sports they play are clearly not damaging their academic careers; their involvement in sports is only benefiting them. In this same South Dakota State University study, ninety-five percent of the students being surveyed said that they believed that the benefits of their athletic involvement have far outweighed the downsides of it (Grimit 50). Since such a majority of students agree that the benefits of their involvement in sports are greater than and outweigh the negative aspects of their athletics, then athletics must enhance the experience of school for many student athletes. A reduction in suicidal thoughts and tendencies has also been seen in both adolescent boys and girls who participate in sports. The Centers for Disease Control reports suicide as the third leading cause of death in teenagers, and advocates that participation in sports brings psychological benefits (Merkel 1). Data from the Centers for Disease Control 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey also showed that vigorous physical activity can reduce the risk of feelings of hopelessness and suicidal tendencies in both males and females. In addition to  the physical benefits of being in a sport, the social acceptance and support that a team sport can provide further reduces the risk of suicidal tendencies. Student athletes that have access to strong social support system are more resilient regarding the negative consequences that push many to commit suicide. This social support that playing sports can provide also helps to better the experience of school for these athletes, since if they are less likely to commit suicide, then that means they must be more happy with school and life as a whole. The benefits of athletics regarding academic performance far outweigh its downsides. Surely sports have a risk of physical injury and can take a lot of time out students’ schedule. But sports help students achieve good grades and have a better performance in the classroom, and they can enhance your school experience. Athletics in school enable students be better and improve themselves inside and outside of school. If a student who is not involved in any athletic activities and is able to do so, they should consider joining a sport of some sort, as there is a lot more good than bad.Works CitedGrimit, Nicole. “Effects of Student Athletics on Academic Performance.” The Journal of Undergraduate Research, vol. 12, no. 5, 2014, pp. 37–59.Lumpkin, Angela, and Judy Favor. “Comparing the Academic Performance of High School Athletes and Non-Athletes in Kansas 2008-2009.” Journal of Sport Administration and Supervision, MPublishing, University of Michigan Library, 1 Mar. 2012Merkel, Donna L. “Youth Sport: Positive and Negative Impact on Young Athletes.” Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, Dove Medical Press, 31 May 2013

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