Sports Column: Multi-sport Athlete Trend Grows

Should high school athletes be in more than one sport?


A poster on the walls of NHS showcases the different spring sports offered.

Caden Scheibel, Student of Journalism

Ever since the early 1920s when sports became popular in America, high school’s have been adding sports to their extracurricular activities for students all over the world. Out of the 15.1 million high school students in America, 55.5 percent play some sort of sport; however, 57 percent of the athletes only play one sport according to USNews. This could be for many reasons such as students trying to perfect their sport or maybe to join an elite club. Unfortunately, this may lead to serious injuries such as ACL tears. This bares the question for athletes, parents and anyone that just seems to be interested in the topic: “Should high school athletes play more than one sport?”

After researching the topic the answer is clear, high school athletes should be in more than one sport.

As many students grow skills in their sport, their bodies grow as well. Playing one sport year round can make the body overstressed from the repetition of using the same muscles. The injuries vary from sport to sport.  Shoulder injuries, such as sprains, dislocations and strains are more commonly found in year-round baseball players, basketball players, golfers, and even swimmers just to name a few. Leg injuries such as ACL tears or hamstring strains are more common in fast-paced, quick rotation sports. These include sports like cross country, track, football, lacrosse, soccer, and once again basketball as shown in an article by NM Orthopedics.

The fact of the matter is that these single sport athletes are putting all of their eggs in one basket.  An injury, a reduced role on a team, or a bad experience with coach or teammate could be the end of the road for a career as an athlete if what they want to do is play in college or even professionally.

Playing a different sport during the three seasons of the school year is the most healthy choice an athlete can make. Playing volleyball in the fall, swimming in the winter, and running track and field in the spring makes different muscles work in different ways that reduce stress on an athletes body according to Additionally, when athletes play multiple sports they are learning new and useful skills that may come in handy for another sport. For example, playing hockey and learning how to stickhandle a puck teaches competitors hand-eye coordination that could be used for catching a ball in a sport like lacrosse.

In contrast, another side to the story exists in reality. Athletes who want to stand out for colleges or a club they are trying to get into tend to play one sport to get ahead of the competition according to ESPN. The sports website also noted that high school and even college students athletes try to obtain the “10,000 hour rule.” This means that after 10,000 hours of a task is completed, individuals have mastered that specific hobbie, sport, or whatever the task chosen.  

Even though athletes trying to perfect their sports and join elite teams is normal for any competitive athlete, they cannot deny the supporting facts and data that show that playing only one sport gives a greater risk of an injury than playing multiple sports. For this reason, high school athletes should be in more than one sport.