Sports

Learn more about student sports in and out of schools, including how athletics affect students’ health, well-being, and academic achievement

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Statistics on School Sports: How Many Students Play Sports? Which Sports Do They Play?
Browse key data on school sports, including how often girls and boys are participating and which ones they are choosing to play.
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Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver greets a child at one of the organization’s events.
Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver greets a child at one of the organization’s events.
Courtesy of Special Olympics
Special Education Q&A Schools Should Boost Inclusion of Students With Disabilities, Special Olympics Leader Says
Schools have work to do to ensure students with intellectual and developmental disabilities feel a sense of belonging, Tim Shriver said.
Evie Blad, January 24, 2024
6 min read
Bloomfield High School transgender athlete Terry Miller, second from left, wins the final of the 55-meter dash over transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood, far left, and other runners in the Connecticut girls Class S indoor track meet at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Conn on Feb. 7, 2019.
Bloomfield High School transgender athlete Terry Miller, second from left, wins the final of the 55-meter dash over transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood, far left, and other runners in the Connecticut girls Class S indoor track meet at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Conn., on Feb. 7, 2019.
Pat Eaton-Robb/AP
Law & Courts Lawsuit Over a Transgender School Sports Policy Revived by Federal Appeals Court
The 2nd Circuit court stressed that it was not deciding the underlying issue in the case of whether Title IX bars such a policy.
Mark Walsh, December 15, 2023
3 min read
Monterey High's Tyvonte' Cornish (94) tackles Odessa High's Ivan Miranda (13) by a shirt tail in the fourth quarter. Odessa High School played Monterey High at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa, Texas, on Aug. 30, 2019.
Monterey High School student Tyvonte' Cornish, left, tackles Ivan Miranda, of Odessa High School, in Odessa, Texas, on Aug. 30, 2019.
Mark Rogers/Odessa American via AP
Recruitment & Retention Athletic Trainers Are Often Missing From the Sidelines in School Sports
Advocates say athletic trainers are in short supply, despite efforts to require schools to keep them on hand.
Elizabeth Heubeck, November 30, 2023
5 min read
Graham Bacigalupi, of Team Louisiana, watches from the dugout during the DYB, formerly Dixie Youth Baseball, Little League tournament in Ruston, La., on Aug. 8, 2023.
Graham Bacigalupi, of Team Louisiana, watches from the dugout during a Little League tournament in Ruston, La., on Aug. 8, 2023.
Gerald Herbert/AP
Student Well-Being Kids Are Getting Priced Out of Youth Sports. How Schools Can Help
The rising costs of participating in organized youth sports is making these activities unaffordable for many families.
Arianna Prothero, November 30, 2023
3 min read
Isaya S. waves out the window of a Seattle Public Schools bus while participating in the annual Seattle Pride Parade on June 25, 2023, in Seattle.
Isaya S. waves out the window of a Seattle Public Schools bus while participating in the annual Seattle Pride Parade on June 25, 2023, in Seattle.
Lindsey Wasson/AP
Federal A Flood of Public Feedback Has Delayed a Title IX Change Covering Trans Athletes—Again
The Biden administration has not taken the final step to adopt long-awaited Title IX changes that would explicitly protect LGBTQ+ students.
Libby Stanford, September 20, 2023
5 min read
Students participate in a school archery program. A group of congressional lawmakers are working to amend federal law to ensure schools can purchase bow and arrows and other supplies for archery, sharp shooting, and hunting programs in schools.
Students participate in a school archery program. A group of congressional lawmakers are working to amend federal law to ensure schools can purchase bow and arrows and other supplies for school archery, sharp shooting, and hunting programs with federal education funds.
Courtesy of the National Archery in the Schools Program
Federal Is Funding for School Archery and Hunting Programs Really at Risk?
A U.S. Department of Education document led to confusion among school administrators about funding for archery and hunting programs.
Libby Stanford, September 18, 2023
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School & District Management Opinion Custom-Built for Student-Athletes, This School Emphasizes Both
A private school that believes sports, academics, and personal development go hand-in-hand explains how they do it.
Rick Hess, August 24, 2023
8 min read
High school senior Areion Coln drinks water after football practice in Richardson, Texas, on July 24, 2023.
High school senior Areion Coln drinks water after football practice in Richardson, Texas, on July 24, 2023.
LM Otero/AP
School Climate & Safety High School Athletes Start Fall Workouts Amid Record-Breaking Heat
Most heat-related injuries can be avoided if schools implement best practices. 
5 min read
Mathematics Video Skating Into STEM: Teaching Middle School Girls Math Through Movement
This Illinois program is fostering an interest in STEM for middle school girls through figure skating.
Sam Mallon, July 21, 2023
3:59
Photo from tv series Ted Lasso
Apple TV+ / Getty
Student Well-Being Opinion What ‘Ted Lasso’ Can Teach Us About School Sports
School athletics has the potential to be wonderful, but not if we ignore the history of toxicity in many athletics programs.
Liz MacLauchlan, June 29, 2023
4 min read
Protesters fill the Ohio Statehouse corridor on April 19, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio in opposition to a bill that would ban transgender girls from playing in girls sports at K-12 and collegiate levels. A House education panel voted the Republican-championed measure out of committee Wednesday, May 10, along partisan lines. The full House could put it to a vote as soon as next week.
Protesters fill the Ohio Statehouse corridor on April 19, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio in opposition to a bill that would ban transgender girls from playing in girls sports at K-12 and collegiate levels. The U.S. Department of Education's proposed Title IX rule change would challenge state-level bans on transgender athletes playing sports that align with their gender identity.
Samantha Hendrickson/AP
Equity & Diversity Federal Rule on Trans Athletes Is Delayed. Here's What That Means for Schools
The U.S. Department of Education announced it will not release its new Title IX rules until October, a five-month delay.
Libby Stanford, June 2, 2023
5 min read
Ember, an 18-year-old transgender girl, plays softball for her team in Ohio. If passed, an Ohio bill would prohibit Ember from playing girls' sports.
Ember Zelch, a transgender girl, plays softball for her high school team in Ohio. A bill in the state's legislature would prohibit trans girls from playing girls sports in school.
Courtesy Photo
Equity & Diversity Proposed Title IX Rule on Trans Athletes Poses Legal Challenge for Athletic Directors
The proposed Title IX rule change would require schools to do a lot of legal work if they want to ban trans students from playing sports.
Libby Stanford, April 19, 2023
8 min read
Hundreds of students carry signs and walk out of school on Transgender Day of Visibility outside Omaha Central High School on March 31, 2023 in Omaha, Neb. Students are protesting LB574 and LB575 in the Nebraska Legislature, which would ban certain gender-affirming care for youth and would prevent trans youth from competing in girls sports, respectively.
Hundreds of students carry signs and walk out of school on Transgender Day of Visibility outside Omaha Central High School on March 31, 2023 in Omaha, Neb. Students are protesting LB574 and LB575 in the Nebraska Legislature, which would ban certain gender-affirming care for youth and would prevent trans youth from competing in girls sports, respectively.
Anna Reed/Omaha World-Herald via AP
Law & Courts U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Reinstate West Virginia’s Transgender Athlete Ban
Amid a dissent by two justices, the Supreme Court declined for now to get involved in transgender student participation in girls' sports.
Mark Walsh, April 6, 2023
4 min read