In a study with 256 parents nationally from 22 states we found that roughly 1 in 5 have had children who, after getting cut from their high school sports team and finding limited options in the school or town to replace their team sport, started dealing with depression, anxiety or other riskier behaviors such as substance abuse or an eating disorder. There are solutions cropping up in many communities, most focused on younger populations, but in some school districts there is a significant gap in programs that can fill a similar need for student-athletes who have spent 10+ years in many cases playing ‘competitive’ sports. ‘Getting cut is one thing, but when all you’ve done is compete in youth sports for most of your life, it’s hard to replace that and without that outlet, kids are hurting, in some cases losing an identity,’ says therapist Ron Prose of Michigan.
Susan Matai, who works as an administrator at a high school in New Mexico, says the only PE available before or after school is organized sports. ‘It is greatly encouraged at this school that students be involved, but there are limits as to how many can be on the teams (state rules). There are no other outlets available.’