By Michael Teich
Participation in youth sports is on the decline and the high costs of gear and equipment is a major obstacle for some families to get their kids involved, former NFL quarterback Jesse Palmer told Cheddar Monday.
"Families and children that come from some of the lower-income families are out of the game," Palmer said.
In 2017, only 37 percent of children played a team sport on a regular basis, compared to 41.5 percent in 2011, according to SFIA's "State of Play 2018" report.
Palmer is working with the non-profit Good Sports on its mission to make sure kids of all socioeconomic backgrounds get the opportunity to play sports. To do so, the organization is delivering equipment to the children who need it the most.
"We partner with sporting goods manufacturers. So we work with over 30 different companies including Nike ($NKE), Under Armour ($UAA), New Balance, Wilson," said Good Sports COO Christy Keswick. "They donate excess equipment to us, we redistribute it across the country to organizations that are in great need."
Palmer, who played five seasons in the National Football League, attributes childhood sports for improving almost every aspect of his life ー not just his athletic ability.
"I had great physical health, I had better emotional health, I did better in school because of sports ー when I was in shape I was able to focus more and concentrate more in class," Palmer said. "I had better relationships with my teachers, with my peers, and with my family as well."
"I just realize and understand how important and vital sports are for young children all across this country and all across the world," he added.
Since its inception in 2003, Good Sport has provided more than $39 million worth of sports equipment, footwear and apparel to 4,202 youth programs.
For full interview click here.