Participation in sports can be an important component of a student’s overall school experience. So it should come as no surprise that the number of participants in high school sports increased for the 29th consecutive year in 2017-18, according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Students may have various reasons for joining school-sanctioned sports teams, including engaging in physical exercise, boosting their résumés with extracurricular activities and finding shared interests with fellow students. School sports provide this and more.
Of course, participation in scholastic sports first involves signing up for the activity. To ensure they’re eligible to participate in scholastic sports, students typically have to follow some key steps.
Physical examination: A doctor will have to provide medical clearance, confirming a student is healthy enough to play. Check with the school athletic director or school nurse regarding the ‘expiration date’ of a physical. Students are often required to get a physical each year, though some might need to get one before each season. Pediatricians and wellness clinics often get inundated with requests to fill out physical forms prior to sports seasons. So contact physicians well in advance of the start of the season to ensure that the physical can be completed and the forms handed in on time.
Health waivers: Doctors alone are not responsible for giving the okay to participate in sports. Before a child can be deemed eligible, parents often have to fill out a detailed health history for their children, listing any possible allergies or conditions that may affect participation. They also may have to provide a list of current immunizations and eye exam results.
Enrollment: Schools may have different sign-up routes for the various sports seasons. Schools generally offer fall, winter and spring sports. Students may need to sign up on an official list with the athletic director or coach. Other schools may utilize a digital system for enrollments. Schools typically publicize how students can get involved with sports and provide the steps for signing up.
Contact with coach: Once enrolled, students may have to connect with the coach in a predetermined way. Various apps and tools can be used. Email is always a popular method for contacting the team, but apps like TeamSnap or Remind are other ways coaches may send out blast announcements about practices, meets, games, and more.