The positive and negative effects of sports


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Teamwork, passion, power and drive. These are traits that all successful athletes have. One doesn’t work without the other. Sports have been an integral part of many lives for nearly as long as society has. But why do these games improve our lives? What skills come in later in life as we play?

“Persistence. Even when I am down, there is still a game to play. So, I have to finish,” junior Kyle Stearns, FHS soccer player, said. 

28-3, 33-0 and 79-44. These are all famous sports comebacks that would’ve been nearly impossible without one trait. Persistence. The act of competing and fighting in a time of being down or in doubt. Sports teach adolescents all across the world from football, soccer or even Quidditch all about this trait. Without the act of persistence, teams and individuals would be out once the first points were on the board. Now, persistence isn’t a single-game objective. With many seasons increasing in length at the pro and collegiate level, persistence to finish seasons strong and make last-second playoff pushes is becoming more important. The amount of final second, last game, playoff-securing moments is ever so growing as more and more seasons go on.

“There’s no mental aspect you have to have. Anyone can compete in sports, but I do believe to be good in sports you need to have a certain level of mentality,” Stearns said.

A prime example of this mentality is the Mamba mentality. The Mamba mentality is a mental aspect popularized by one man: Kobe Bryant. Bryant had what is considered one of the biggest drives for success ever in any sport. He would work out 666 times in a six-month NBA offseason. He won five NBA championship rings in his 20-year career. It all starts somewhere. Bryant was drafted directly to the NBA straight out of high school. Now while high school students are no longer allowed to be drafted out of high school in many sports, leagues such as the MLB are exceptions. The things players learn from their first coaches are what carry them throughout the rest of their careers. While not everyone is gifted with one-of-a-kind height or incredible wingspan, that’s not all that matters. Wasted talent is wasted talent. Without that drive to want to achieve greatness, it doesn’t matter what superior traits you inherited from the gene pool.

“It definitely expanded and grew my mental game. It helped me figure out ways to make sure I was keeping a good mental attitude,” senior Jacob Fowler, bowler, said. “Throughout the whole time, I practice and compete. This also helps me with everyday activities. I am able to look at everything as an obstacle, rather than an unfixable problem.”

Problem-solving, while perhaps being in a fast-paced environment, is one of the largest retaining skills you gain and keep while playing a sport. The amount of trick plays, laterals and quick-witted improvisation that sports require is what helps develop these skills. Sports have been proven to increase overall blood and oxygen flow to the brain, as well as make the mind sharper and increase reaction time. After being in such a demanding environment, both physically and mentally, tasks begin to come easier. 

Now, there is one growing problem that sports cannot look past: injuries. As more and more years pass, there are more former athletes reporting certain life-threatening injuries. One bringing the highest buzz in sports is concussions. In sports such as football, hockey, baseball or even basketball, the odds of an athlete hitting their head and causing a concussion are likely. Now while a singular concussion might not be bad, the hundreds of other small hits taken to the head on top of this are. This may cause a devastating condition called CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This condition has been linked to drastic mental changes such as anger issues, memory problems or even suicidal thoughts.  Many of those thoughts end up winning, resulting in former athletes taking their own lives. This is a giant problem that the sports world has been plagued with, with these injuries only increasing as we go on. In the sport of football, it is nearly impossible to completely prevent this, with the only true way being to put a helmet inside the skull around the brain. It is a decision that may be hard for many parents and students to make. People hate to say this, but unfortunately, it may be the right one.

The world loves sports and that will never change, but one thing that needs to change is player safety and how it is regulated. From Damar Hamlin to Tua Tagovailoa, there will always be tragedy. But the only way to get off of rock bottom is up, and with that said, these athletes, coaches, trainers and doctors will not stop working to make the world’s favorite past time into a safer realm.