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athletics/sports

By the time a 220-pound linebacker gets in his way, a high school running back has built significant momentum. The resulting collisions have been described with metaphors involving rams, brick walls and Mack trucks.

San Diego USD student athletes now play in a new football stadium, baseball field, track and other sports facilities as an $11 million improvement project was completed in April.

The project’s funding came from Proposition Z, San Diego USD’s general obligation bond passed by voters in 2012, as well as from the State Schools Facilities Funds. Construction began in winter 2014.

State education departments should ensure that minority schools have the same sports resources as wealthier schools, a new report says.

Schools with high minority populations not only have fewer resources for athletics, but the number of sports offered and the chance to play are even further limited for girls of color.

These opportunity gaps exist for females in 40 percent of heavily minority high schools, but were found in only 16 percent of predominantly white schools, according to “Finishing Last: Girls of Color and School Sports Opportunities,” a report by the National Women’s Law Center and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council.

The athletic trainer at Kimball High School in Dallas, Texas, helps players on the field during the football team’s opening game. (Photo: Renee Fernandes/NATA)

A student athlete with a concussion doesn’t face challenges only in returning to play. Their injury also can hinder their performance in the classroom, and administrators must make sure students who need rest or have to work more slowly are able to keep up with schoolwork during recovery.

About 12 percent of male and 8 percent of female high school athletes reported using prescription painkillers for nonmedical purposes at least once in the past year—an increase from previous years, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse.

Copan Public Schools in northeastern Oklahoma is trying something new to attract teachers and reduce absences: a four-day week.

Though some districts have chosen this schedule to lower transportation and utility costs, saving money was not a reason for the change, Superintendent Rick Ruckman says.

Booster club members attend a session presented by the National Booster Club Training Council.

Sports teams in a growing number of school districts can only return to their fields, gymnasiums, rinks and pools each September with the support of parent-run booster clubs. As budgets tighten, these clubs, which have provided high school athletes with everything from uniforms to scoreboards to travel money for competitions or games, are expanding into elementary and middle schools.

A synthetic field at Asbury Park High School at Asbury Park Public Schools in New Jersey, by FieldTurf, is one of various fields that needs regular maintenance and care.

Installing a synthetic-surface athletic field can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Any school district that invests in one and then treats it as a maintenance-free luxury may end up spending a lot more money on repairs and replacements.

There are few universal answers to maintaining natural-grass athletic fields. The specifics and the costs vary widely based on region, altitude, frequency of use and the type of grass under the cleats.

Pekin Community High School District No. 303 in Illinois changed its mascot in 1980 from a derogatory term for Chinese people to the dragon.

Mascots with names like the Orientals and the Redskins will no longer be cheering on student athletes in some schools. Districts across the county are coming under fire from civil rights groups for perpetuating negative cultural stereotypes that could impact students’ view of a diverse society.

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