Impact of Youth Sports

When pundits discuss the influence of sports on American culture, they often emphasize the negatives: Michael Vick and dogfighting; the steroids scandals in baseball; lewd fan behavior in football; doping incidents in cycling and track. But below the radar of popular athletic culture is something that has profoundly shaped the lives of millions of Americans for the better: youth sports. A growing body of research is showing the social and economic benefits of participation in youth sports to be surprisingly large and overwhelmingly positive. Other things being equal, if a kid plays sports, he will earn more money, stay in school longer, and be more engaged in civic life.