Participating in organized high school sports offers young people countless benefits, not just in terms of physical skills, like hand-eye coordination; strength and movement, but also advantages related to self-esteem, cognitive and academic skills, and mental health.

Students who participate in high school sports experience improved outcomes, with positive correlations between grades, mental health, and sports participation. Statistics show that high school athletes score at least 6 percent higher on academic achievement tests and are more likely to attend college and graduate with a degree. They also have significantly lower high school dropout and suicide rates.

Unfortunately, while 8 million high school students participate in at least one sport, only 30 percent of students from urban areas get involved. Athletes like Derek Rose admit that if it weren’t for basketball, he may not have made it out of his inner-city neighborhood.

In the latest episode of Sports Medicine Weekly, Dr. Cole speaks with Mickey Pruitt, former NFL linebacker and current Director of Athletics for Chicago Public Schools, and discusses the importance of high school athletics and his efforts to use sports as a conduit for improving outcomes for Chicago Public School students.

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