Athletes Tackle Academics

By Viktor Petrusevski, Staff Writer

It’s seven o’clock and practice just ended. The sun has set, and the stadium lights are flickering on. The athletes desert the field, but their night is far from over.

Busy with daily practices and games, students who participate in sports have to dedicate a large portion of their time to athletics. However, they are also full time students and must maintain their performance in school. This forces student-athletes to manage their time and balance their commitments.

For minor assignments like a simple worksheet, achieving this balance might be easy. However, there are many occasions where students receive larger assignments or have to study for a test. These obligations require extra time and can pose obstacles.

“It’s easy to finish a sheet of math homework,” said football player JP Springer (11).But when you need to finish a whole essay by 11:59, it is really hard to get done.”

Even so, some students find that the added pressure of sports actually helps them excel academically. “I felt like while I was doing swim, I was always more focused on school,” said swimmer Luis Sorto (10). “It forced to manage my time better and do my homework before practice, so I didn’t have time to watch Netflix and play Fortnite.”

In addition, student-athletes can be aided by the mental benefits of sports participation. According to Harvard psychiatrist John Ratey, exercise can increase a person’s mental faculties and alertness. In his book, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Ratey describes taking MRI scans on the brains of sedentary people who recently increased their amount of exercise. These scans showed increased volume in the hippocampus and the frontal and temporal lobes, which are regions of the brain associated with cognitive functioning, memory, and learning.

A study conducted by the universities of Strathclyde and Dundee on about 5,000 children and adolescents shows the real world effects of these mental changes. This study found that, the more students exercised, the better they did on exams.

This correlation is also observed by teachers. “To me the athletes that have the best attitude on the field are usually some of the same students that succeed in the classroom,” said English teacher Mr. Jay Mahan.“It’s because of their dedication.”