Youth Hesitant To Return To Sport

With restrictions lifting on sport participation across the country, two recent reports warn that young people likely won’t participate at the same levels seen prior to the pandemic.

COVID Alert: Pandemic Impact on Girls in Sport, from Canadian Women & Sport, E-Alliance and Jumpstart Charities, found that one in four Canadian girls (aged six to 18) who participated in sport at least weekly prior to pandemic lockdowns, are not committed to returning to sport after restrictions are lifted. If realized, this equates to more than 350,000 Canadian girls not returning to sport, the study says.

Prior to COVID-19, fewer girls participated in sports compared to boys. Once COVID-19 hit, the situation was made worse as a result of closed facilities, sidelined in-person coaching and stunted social connections. The top three negative impacts of COVID-19, as cited by participants in the study, are mental health, physical health and social connection.

Among the report’s conclusions: If girls don’t return to sport, communities will be left with increased mental and physical healthcare costs; perpetuated low numbers of women in coaching and officiating; and the loss of the talents and contributions of women in decision making.
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A separate survey called Return to Sport—The Impact of COVID-19 on Youth Activity in Sport, by the Canada Games Council in partnership with IMI International, found that one in three Canadian youth are unsure if they will return to sport after restrictions are lifted.

More than 2,000 Canadians, including 600 youth between the ages of 13 and 24, were surveyed: 20% said they did not plan to return to sport, while 69% said sports will be essential in getting young people motivated and engaged after COVID. 
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