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Center for Research on Physical Activity, Sport & Health (CRPASH)

Mapping Attrition among U.S. Adolescents in Competitive, Organized School and Community Sports 

This study by the Center for Research on Physical Activity, Sports, and Health describes and analyzes the shifting flow of U.S. adolescents into and out of competitive, organized school and community sports across the high school years.  

 It tracks and assesses if athletic participation rates increased, decreased, or remained stable between eighth grade and 12th grade—across all sports and within each of the 14 sports as well as “other sports.” It examines whether shifts in athletic participation and attrition across the high school years were influenced by race and ethnicity, family socioeconomic level, metropolitan status, gender, or geographic region. The study concludes there are big leaks in the sport pipeline. While today more teens than ever flow through the pipeline of American sports, participation rates in most sports plunge between eighth grade and 12th grade. It also found that attrition among girls Is significantly higher than among boys. The attrition rates for girls between eighth grade and 12th grade in all sports are two to three times higher than among boys. For results specific to each of the 14 sports, click here.

Read Mapping Attrition in US Sports
Read Mapping Attrition by US Sport Type

CRPASH Director an Advocate for School Wellness in the Buffalo Public Schools

Dr. Cadzow continues to maintain an active advocacy campaign along with other community partners to encourage the local public school district to comply with New York State regulations for physical education. This has involved writing letters to the Board of Education, publishing Op-Ed articles in the Buffalo News and speaking at Board of Education meetings. This collaborative advocacy culminated in August 2015 in the district hiring nearly 40 additional physical education teachers to increase the amount of PE they were able to offer students. Due to this ongoing research support and advocacy, Dr. Cadzow was awarded the 2016 Buffalo Public Schools School Wellness Team Higher Education Partner of the Year award at a wellness celebration in May 2016. The school district recognized Cadzow for her commitment to school wellness, advocacy,  assistance with policy development and evaluation, and leveraging of additional grant funds to support the important work by the health services personnel in the district.

CRPASH to Research to Sports, Physical Activity, and Well-Being Among Rural and Urban Girls in Western New York

Director Renee Cadzow, PhD partnered with Cheryl Cooky, PhD of Purdue University to research participation in physical activity among Western New York girls. The primary purpose of this project was to identify effective best practices and policies that successfully increase urban and rural girls' participation in sport. Since there is a shortage of empirical evidence on why urban and rural girls are less likely to participate in organized sports, or of best practices to increase girls’ sport participation, the proposed project utilized multi-method, qualitative approaches consisting of parent and child focus groups and program director interviews. The results will provide key insights into barriers and facilitators to sport participation. These results will inform the design and development of a larger quantitative project to assess sport programs nationwide.

CRPASH Works Locally With the Buffalo Public Schools to Evaluate Employee Interest in Health and Wellness

Renee Cadzow, PhD partnered with the Buffalo Schools to assess employee interest in health and wellness activities. In 2012 the Buffalo Public Schools approved a new Wellness Policy based on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Coordinated School Health model. Part of this model involves addressing the health and wellness of faculty and staff in the school. This assessment helped the district develop future programs and resources that best match the needs and interests of their employees. This activity was part of CRPASH's ongoing commitment to the local community to improve access to and participation in physical activity and sport to support healthier children, adolescents, adults, and elders.

Nationwide Analysis of U.S. Youth Sport Participation

Professor Sabo was designated to conduct a set of nationwide analyses of U.S. youth participation in sport in conjunction with the Aspen Institute's Project Play, a "once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-imagine youth sports in America, with special focus on underserved communities and the needs of public health" The CRPASH-based research team produced a report designed to inform conversations and policy discussion among leaders from health, philanthropy, media, and industry.

CRPASH Research Featured in ESPN Magazine

A recent ESPN Magazine article by Bruce Kelley and Carl Carchia entitled "Hey, data data -- swing!" reports on ESPN's summer 2013 Kids in Sports focus. The authors mined the hard-to-find data on youth in sports to illustrate the key characteristics and demographics of US youth in sports. The authors soon found they needed to turn to D'Youville Emeritus Professor and CRPASH founder and Co-Director Don Sabo to answer many of their questions.

Here's just a taste of what they reported: "Yet Don Sabo, a longtime youth-sports researcher and a professor at D'Youville in Buffalo, did a study in 2008 for the Women's Sports Foundation that found that 75 percent of boys and 69 percent of girls from 8 to 17 took part in organized sports during the previous year -- playing on at least one team or in one club."

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Evidence-Based Research for the USTA Serves

A team of CRPASH researchers have conducted targeted academic research for the USTA Serves. Our project, "More Than A Sport: Tennis, Education and Health," analyzes two national data sets in order to test for relationships between adolescent tennis participation and educational and developmental outcomes.

"USTA Serves is the National Charitable Foundation of the United States Tennis Association, Incorporated. USTA Serves is a not-for-profit entity that is dedicated to improving the quality of life among our nation's youth and people with disabilities. USTA Serves encourages children to pursue their goals and highest dreams by succeeding in school and becoming responsible citizens. USTA Serves supports organizations that use tennis as a vehicle to help at-risk children finish high school and qualify for college scholarships. USTA Serves targets people from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds."


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The cutting-edge research and program evaluation work conducted by CRPASH is made possible through generous donor support and research grants.

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