Can youth sports survive another shutdown?

The Lack of Youth Sports is a Crisis

It’s been 8 months since March 15, 2020. Eight months since COVID-19 became part of our everyday lives impacting not only every American, but every human across the globe.

It’s funny how time works; there are calendars and systems telling exactly how many hours, days, weeks and months it has been since our first lockdown; however, there also seems to be some discretion on how time feels to each of us.  Does it feel like an eternity ago that school doors were closed for the millions of children in New York City for the first time back in March? Or does it feel like just yesterday that sport seasons were halted as gyms across the city locked their doors? Either way, it seems impossible to not feel the building anxiety that eight months later we are trending in a similar direction of shut down. Frankly, the United States has not been able to get the virus under control and our nation’s children and the businesses that serve them are feeling the impact. 

At Kids in the Game, we are proud to have weathered the first storm and continued to provide services to kids across New York City both virtually and in-person. We have adapted our programs to accommodate these unprecedented times. We have learned how to play games six feet apart and changed our high-fives to toe taps. We have adapted to survive. However, our nature as an organization is not to just survive but it is to provide ample opportunities for our kids to thrive. 

A nationwide survey of adolescent athletes from the University of Wisconsin, found 40 percent of youth athletes reported symptoms of moderate to severe depression, and 37 percent reported symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety from COVID-19-related school and sports cancelations.

It is reported that play amongst kids has decreased by 50% since the start of COVID-19, and even more concerning 30% of kids are reporting they now have a lack of interest in playing sports since the March shut down.

The Aspen Institute

Our kids are trying to learn in the short-term to survive without play. But again, surviving cannot be the standard.

Of course, we could write paragraphs and paragraphs on the financial implications another shutdown would have on Kids in the Game and other organizations in our field. In fact, there has been a 65% decrease in overall revenue across youth sports since March. Simply put, our industry is struggling and another shutdown will be an olympic sized hurdle to overcome. A hurdle we must overcome for our kids. 

Over the course of the next few months, Kids in the Game will continue to adapt to the COVID climate leading with a “kid first” attitude, focusing on health and safety and continuing to build the integrity of the next generation. Our hope is that you will join us in recognizing our small actions can make a big difference. Wear a mask. Stay home when you can. Donate to local, targeted organizations. And most importantly lead with empathy as we work through this incredibly difficult time.