Tagged with: awareness education exercise fitness goals health inclusive life sports
Whew! I made it through another semester of graduate school. Interestingly, one of my assignments for this semester required me to complete extensive research into a topic of my choosing. In the end my topic, as it often does, centered on adaptive sports. Since the health benefits of sports participation are well known, I was intrigued by non-health benefits that can be derived from playing sports.
We all know that participating in physical activity has numerous health benefits. Those benefits include improved cardiovascular and muscle fitness, improved mental health, a better ability to do the tasks of daily life, and a lower occurrence of obesity (CDC, 2010). While physical activity is good for one’s health, the benefits of physical activity can extend beyond your physical health. Athletic participation can also have long-term positive effects on participants’ academic success and even influence their future economic outlook.
While the perception of student-athletes is one of a dumb jock who cares little about their academics, research says otherwise. Pascarella and Smart (1991) found that the chance of athletes completing a bachelor’s degree was much higher than their non-athlete peers. Furthermore, Franklin (2006) found that graduation rates for student-athletes are higher than their non-athlete peers. This is the case across almost all demographics including white, black, male, female, etc.
In addition to health and academic benefits, athletic participation has been shown to positively influence participants’ economic futures. Past athletic participation has a strong positive correlation regarding the former student athlete’s future employment. Multiple studies (Barron, Ewing, & Waddell, 2000; Ewing, 2007; Stevenson, 2010) have discussed the positive correlation between high school athletic participation and future economic success. These studies found that former athletes had higher standing jobs, earned better wages, and enjoyed better fringe benefits (e.g. health insurance, pensions). Kniffin, Wansink, and Shimizu (2015) expanded upon this research and determined the possible reason for the relationship. Kniffin et al. show that former student-athletes are more likely to display attributes that employers are looking for, such as leadership, self-confidence, and self-respect. The research indicates that the benefits of high school sports participation extend well into adulthood. Kniffin et al. discovered that individuals that played varsity-level high school sports enjoyed higher-status careers six decades after their high school careers ended. Able-bodied athletes are not the only ones whose economic benefits due to athletic participation have been studied. Amy Lastuka and Michael Cottingham (2015) found that every additional year of adaptive sport participation resulted in an approximate 4% increase in likelihood of employment for the participants.
I find these studies especially intriguing when considering the current state of the disabled community at large. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2014 the rate of employment for individuals with disabilities was only 17.1% whereas the able-bodied population employment rate was 64.6%. Also, a 2015 analysis of federal education data found that the national average high school graduation rate for students with disabilities was 61.9 percent (DePaoli, J. L. et al.). This is despite research indicating that 85 to 90 percent of kids with disabilities are capable of completing the requirements for a high school diploma (Diament, M., 2015). This low high school graduation rate has led, in part, to the most recent data finding that only 11% of college undergraduates have a disability (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2015).
Will playing sports change all of this? Of course not. Multiple other factors hinder individuals with disabilities including societal barriers. However, given the research, it is apparent that playing sports, has its benefits and those benefits are not limited to your health.
I hope you found this interesting (I certainly did!). If you would like to read the studies I referenced, follow the links below. If you are interested in others like them (I have about 20…) let me know in the comments and I will do what I can to make them available.
Barron, J. M., Ewing, B. T., & Waddell, G. R. (2000). The effects of high school athletic participation on education and labor market outcomes. Review of Economics and Statistics, 82, 409-421. Retrieved from http://pages.uoregon.edu/waddell/papers/2000_REStat_Barron-Ewing-Waddell.pdf
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2015). Persons with a Disability: Labor force characteristics —2014. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/
Center for Disease Control. (2010). Overweight and Obesity: Among People with Disabilities. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/documents/obesityFactsheet2010.pdf
DePaoli, J. L., Fox, J. H., Ingram, E. S., Maushard, M., Bridgeland, J. M., & Balfanz, R. (2015). Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic. Annual Update 2015. Civic Enterprises. Retrieved from: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED556759.pdf
Diamont, M. (2015). Nearly 40 Percent Of Students With Disabilities Don’t Graduate. Disability Scoop. Retrieved from https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2015/05/12/nearly-40-don’t -graduate/20292/
Ewing, B. T. (2007). The labor market effects of high school athletic participation: Evidence from wage and fringe benefit differentials. Journal of Sports Economics, 8, 255- 265. doi: 10.1177/1527002505279348
Franklin, B. (2006). College Athletics as a Model for Promoting Academic Integrity in Higher Education. Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 19(1), 15-18.
Kniffin, K. M., Wansink, B., & Shimizu, M. (2015). Sports at work: Anticipated and persistent correlates of participation in high school athletics. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 22(2), 217-230. doi:10.1177/1548051814538099
Latuska, A. & Cottingham, M. (2015). The effect of adaptive sports on employment among people with disabilities. Disability & Rehabilitation, 38(8), 742-748. doi:10.3109/09638288.2015.1059497
National Center for Educational Statistics. (2015). Fast Facts: Students with disabilities. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=60
Pascarella, E. T., & Smart, J. C. (1991). Impact of intercollegiate athletic participation for African American and Caucasian men: Some further evidence [Abstract]. Journal of College Student Development, 32(2), 123-130.
Stevenson, B. (2010). Beyond the classroom: Using Title IX to measure the return to high school sports. Review of Economics and Statistics, 92, 284-301. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w15728.pdf