Survey: Almost half of parents fear their children will get sick if they return to sports

A survey by North Carolina State University, in partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Project Play and Utah State University, underscores the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout might impact sports-playing families.

A majority of sports parents (70.3 percent) said they will allow their children to resume their sports activities at the same or greater amount and level as before, but more than half of those surveyed (54 percent) said their finances have been impacted negatively and almost half (49.5 percent) fear their children will get sick if they return to sports.

Sightly less parents (45.7 percent) were worried that they would get sick if their children started playing sports again.

The survey of 1,050 adults was conducted in the first week of May and sampled parents who self-identified as having a child between ages 8-18 who played organized sports in the past year.

Parents were much more comfortable with their children playing on their own (shooting baskets or bike riding) or in pickup games or playing at school (two-thirds or more) than playing a travel sport that took their children outside their hometown or county (51.5 percent).

Any number of factors could contribute to that greater reticence: finances or lack of comfort level with mingling with children and families they don't know, less emphasis on or interest in a travel sport.

“This may be an ominous sign for the travel sports industry, at least in the immediate aftermath of the COVID pandemic,” said Dr. Travis Dorsch, founding director of the Utah State University Families in Sport Lab, told the Aspen Institute’s Project Play. “These data may be a signal that families are looking to scale back, to stay closer to home, and to spend less money on youth sport experiences for their children.”

That social aspect of youth sports was underscored when 76 percent of all parents surveyed said the most significant impact of the loss of sports was the lack interaction their children had with teammates.

4 comments about "Survey: Almost half of parents fear their children will get sick if they return to sports".
  1. Guy Walling, May 13, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.

    Hats off to all those intellegent parents who are listening to the medical community and are concerned about their children. It is not wise to listen to politicians, including our president who are being very cavalier and quite frankly ignorant in their decisions in how they are managing this pandemic. If we want to keep politics out of soccer and we should, then please keep politics out of our decisions that we make for our children hastily returning to youth sports. Do we turn to politicians when our young athlete is injured? Then why not listen to the medical community during a public health crisis? If your child is motivated and loves the sport they are playing, then they will train in the garage or in the back yard on their own. If your child doesn't have to self motivation to go out and play the sport they love in the back yard, on the street, or in the park in very small groups then how is throwing your kid in organized sports, paying thousands of dollars just to risk their health or even their life going to benefit your young athlete during this pandemic? Parents must be parents, act like adults, and make intellegent decisions during these crazy times. Patience is a virtue!

  2. R2 Dad, May 13, 2020 at 6:35 p.m.

    Parents are afraid because they are protective of their children. But fear is not logical nor judicial. Last I remember reading, 1/3 of all deaths were in retirement homes, and children were not keeling over from this flu. Nobody wants to get exposed to this virus, but does that mean we should shut down schools and sports this fall? The doctors do not decide these issues, they are only advising to preserve life. Doctors are only penalized when people die, so naturally they advise we should all stay indoors until an injection is available to protect us. But politicians are supposed to weigh the evidence--medical and economic--and advise accordingly, not defer to the most conservative voice because they don't want to make a decision and suffer the consequences. We used to have politicians that weren't afraid of hard choices but they don't make ' em like that anymore. We as a city/state/country cannot sit home and wait out the virus--that's not what "flattening the curve" means. People will still die, despite the flattened curve. We are only deferring our exposure to the virus. A jab will take 18 months or more, say the experts. We can't shut down society until then...unless you live in LA.

  3. Linda Gohl, May 13, 2020 at 10:11 p.m.

    Before our kids were old enough to go to school we had few colds. Once in school they brought home viruses on a regular basis. It isn’t the kids that will get really sick, well some will, but the parents and grandparents.

    That is the real danger.

  4. Goal Goal, May 14, 2020 at 11:31 a.m.

    Are you kidding me.  Be cautious no doubt.  The parents of most of these kids today are a bunch of wimps.  If their kid gets knocked on their backside during a game they want to charge on to the field to coddle them.  This social distancing is going to turn into social whatever you want to call it.  Let's play.

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