Survey Shows Multi-Sport Participation Holding Steady, Led by Consistent High Achievers

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

December 14, 2023

The MHSAA's fifth Multi-Sport Participation Survey, conducted this spring for the 2022-23 school year, showed for the second-consecutive year that 44 percent of athletes at member high schools participated in more than one sport, and with several schools retaining high rankings in their respective Classes for the percentage of their athletes playing multiple sports.

Early and intense sport specialization has become one of the most serious issues related to health and safety at all levels of youth sports, as overuse injuries and burnout among athletes have been tied to chronic injuries and health-related problems later in life.

This past year’s survey showed 44.7 percent of athletes at MHSAA member high schools participating in two or more sports, a slight increase from the 44.3 percent who were multi-sport athletes in 2021-22 – and 1.9 percent higher than the percentage measured with the first survey in 2017-18.

For 2022-23, 47.5 percent of male athletes and 41.2 percent of female athletes played multiple sports. Class D has enjoyed the highest percentage of multi-sport athletes over all five years of surveys, this time at 62.5 percent, followed by Class C (59.0), Class B (49.6) and Class A (36.9).

Similar results for overall sport participation and multi-sport participation relative to enrollment size were seen by further breaking down Class A into schools of fewer than 1,000 students, 1,000-1,500 students, 1,501-2,000 students and more than 2,000 students. For both sport participation as a whole and multi-sport participation specifically, the smallest Class A schools continued to enjoy the highest percentages, while percentages then decreased for every larger size group of schools. This has remained consistent over the last five surveys.

Since 2018-19, the survey also has shown a slight increase in three-sport athletes across all four Classes and overall with 12.6 percent of athletes at MHSAA member high schools playing at least that many in 2022-23.

In early 2016, the MHSAA appointed a Task Force on Multi-Sport Participation as part of a continued effort to promote and protect participant health and address the issues leading to early sport specialization. The annual Multi-Sport Participation Survey was among results of the task force’s work.  The 2022-23 Multi-Sport Participation Survey received responses from 85.2 percent of member high schools, a few tenths more than in 2021-22 in setting a survey response record for the second-straight year. (No survey was conducted for 2019-20 as spring sports were canceled due to COVID-19.)

The MHSAA Task Force also recommended measuring multi-sport participation in MHSAA member schools to recognize “achievers” – that is, schools that surpass the norm given their enrollment and other factors that affect school sports participation.

Battle Creek Harper Creek, Detroit Cody and Grand Rapids Northview have appeared among the top 10 percent of their respective Classes four of the five years the survey has been conducted. Several more have appeared among the top 10 percent of their Classes three of the five years: Athens, Decatur, Detroit Douglass, East Grand Rapids, Gibraltar Carlson, Hamtramck, Hillsdale Academy, Holland Calvary, Kinross Maplewood Baptist, Livonia Franklin, Manton, Marquette, New Baltimore Anchor Bay, Ovid-Elsie, Parma Western, Warren Fitzgerald, Warren Lincoln and Warren Michigan Collegiate.

In Class A, Sterling Heights (85.7 percent) and Grand Rapids Union (84.0) posted the highest percentages of multi-sport athletes in 2022-23, with Livonia Franklin (73.1) and Battle Creek Harper Creek (71.3) also reaching 70 percent. In Class B, three schools achieved at least 80 percent multi-sport participation –Warren Michigan Collegiate (85.2), Detroit Cody (84.2) and Battle Creek Pennfield (81.5).

Class C saw eight schools reach 80 percent – Jackson Lumen Christi (92.5), Delton Kellogg (92.3), Decatur (86.2), Muskegon Western Michigan Christian (84.0), Indian River Inland Lakes (83.3), Detroit Crockett Midtown Science & Medicine (82.4), Martin (80.6) and LeRoy Pine River (80.0). Two Class D schools responded at higher than 90 percent multi-sport participation – Coldwater Pansophia Academy with 100 percent for the second-straight year and Carney-Nadeau (94.0) – followed by Brighton Livingston Christian (88.9), Carsonville-Port Sanilac (88.6) and Holland Calvary (87.0).

The full summary report on the Multi-Sport Participation Survey is available on the Multi-Sports Benefits page of

How To Warm Up Correctly Before Playing Different Sports

July 10, 2024

When you see professional athletes gearing up to race or getting ready to take the field, you’ll notice that they’re always in motion. That’s because they are warming up in preparation for going all out.

Henry Ford HealthAnd there’s a good reason why you’ll never see a pro go straight from the bench into a full sprint. “You need to allow your muscles to gradually accept the demands of your activity,” says Jennifer Burnham, a certified athletic trainer at Henry Ford Health. “Otherwise you risk causing an injury.”

Why You Should Warm Up

As the name implies, a warmup is a series of movements designed to warm up your muscles. “You want to increase blood flow to your muscles and loosen up and lubricate your joints,” says Burnham. “And you need to do it gradually, so that your body has time to adapt to the increasing intensity.”

Warming up involves more than just stretching. According to Burnham, studies have actually shown that holding a static stretch when muscles are cold can decrease performance. “Instead, before activity you want to do a dynamic warmup that incorporates movement as well as some gentle stretching."

Your warmup only needs to take 5 to 10 minutes. When deciding what to do, think about the movements you’ll be doing in your activity and which muscles and joints are most involved. Then choose movements that slowly get them warmed up and primed for more intense action.

How To Warm Up For Different Activities

No matter your sport, the warmup before your workout should include some exercises to activate and engage your core (the abdominal and back muscles). “Waking up those muscles helps decrease injury potential,” says Burnham. She suggests incorporating bridges and mini squats (no deeper than 45 degrees) into your warmup routine. To do a bridge, lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Tighten your stomach muscles and squeeze your butt as you lift your hips up to form a straight line from knees to shoulders.

The rest of your warmup can be more specific to muscles and movements of your planned activity.


Before a run, or even a jog, you want to warm up all the muscles and joints from the waist down.

  • Rotate your hips (lift your knee up and do some circles in both directions to move the joint) and ankles (circle one foot at a time both clockwise and counter-clockwise).
  • Get powerful muscles like your glutes and quads ready with high knees and butt kicks.
  • Walk on your toes and then on your heels to warm up shin and calf muscles.
  • When you’re ready to run, start off slowly and gradually increase your speed.

Racquet sports

You still need to warm up your lower body using the same moves as the running warmup. But you’ll want to add in others specific to the upper body movements of tennis, pickleball or other racket sports.

  • Warm up shoulders with big arm circles both forwards and backwards
  • Circle your hands in both directions to get wrists ready for action
  • Lunge forward and rotate your upper torso to increase your spine mobility

Basketball, soccer and football

You want to make sure your lower body has time to adapt to the demands of sports that require bursts of sprinting and quick shifts of direction. Your warmup should gradually increase in speed and intensity as you move your body in all directions:

  • Side shuffles while swinging your arms (shuffle in both directions)
  • Grapevines in both directions
  • Skip forward, lifting knees high, then skip backward


Prepping your body for a swimming workout means warming up your arms, shoulders and upper back.

  • Circle arms backwards and forwards
  • Use a light resistance band to do shoulder rows
  • Use a light resistance band or light dumbbell and lift straight arms up to shoulder height in front and to your sides
  • Start with an easy tempo freestyle swim before going into more dynamic strokes like butterfly

Jennifer Burnham is an athletic trainer who sees patients at the Henry Ford Center for Athletic Medicine in Detroit.

To find a sports medicine provider at Henry Ford Health, visit or call 313-651-1969.