When asked recently to identify the most important work of the Michigan High School Athletic Association at this particular time in the history of school sports in Michigan, I paused only briefly, because there is one initiative that scores a hat trick. It’s the MHSAA Task Force on Multi-Sport Participation.
It is a forum for helping us define and defend educational athletics.
It is helping us focus on the future of school sports – on the junior high/middle school level, and even younger athletes and their parents, where attitudes are being formed and decisions are being made.
It is helping us focus on THE most serious health and safety issue in all of youth sports, which is specialization in one sport that is too early, too intense and too prolonged, leading to overuse injuries that tend to cause a lifetime of chronic injuries and related health problems.
The Task Force has convened five times over 15 months. It is moving now from the phase of identifying issues and challenges to developing tools for administrators and coaches to promote the multi-sport experience for young people.