You are here

athletics/sports

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.

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.

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.

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.
Two schools in the Bryan ISD in Texas were the inaugural recipients of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School award launched earlier this year. (Photo: Bryan ISD Sports Medicine Department)

In September, a 16-year-old high school football player from Brocton Central School District in western New York died after being knocked unconscious by a helmet-to-helmet collision during a game.

Less than a month earlier, another 16-year-old high school football player from the Fulton County School System in Fairburn, Ga., died after fracturing a vertebra in his upper spinal cord during a scrimmage, according to published accounts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates between 1.6 and 3.8 million adolescent athletes experience brain injuries each year.

New helmet sensors are helping high school football coaches identify students at risk for concussion by recording the severity each time a player is hit in the head during a game.

Jeff Brown, right, athletic trainer at Flower Mound High School in Texas, tends to an injured football player during a game.

With the start of football and the rest of the 2013-2014 school athletic calendar, districts are looking at new laws and training recommendations to help avoid deadly health problems among the 7.5 million students who will play high school sports this year.

Pay to play has become the new normal at many public high schools strapped for cash. And while the practice is prohibited in such states as California, it has taken hold in others. “Our community seemed to understand the value of strong athletic programs,” says Chris Bigelow, director of student services for the Northshore School District in Bothell, Wash., which instituted participation fees several years ago after state budget cuts.

The glory days of high school sports are no longer reserved for dream team athletes, as athletic directors are increasingly opening up sports to all students, regardless of ability, and seeing winning results on the field and off. 

Pages