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The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

Some student athletes would like to be exempt from PE class

Proponents say P.E. increases their risk of injury, distracts from academics, and provides no significant benefits beyond what their sports training offers

Imagine this: in just two weeks, you’re playing in the biggest basketball game of your life, just next week. Then in gym class, you take a step back while playing basketball and snap! You break, sprain, or fracture your ankle. Now you’re done for not only the game, but the rest of the season.  

While this circumstance may not be widespread, it can be avoided. 

Gym class provides important opportunities for students to learn skills like leadership, and be introduced to new sports they may be interested in. But, it also takes up athletes’ time for no return on any effort put in, opens the door for injury, and needlessly takes up time to teach lessons that can be learned through participation in sports. Student-athletes should not be forced to participate in P.E. because the class serves no clear purpose to advance them academically or physically. 

P.E. is not a traditional class. But, it does offer learning important opportunities for students. These range from the development of self-discipline to the improvement of cognitive skills. The lessons taught in P.E. can be applied not only in class, but in future jobs as well. 

The skills required to effectively perform a job are the same basic skills taught during the ideal P.E. class. You need to be able to work in a team, be responsible/self-disciplined, use social skills, and be inclusive(for effective teamwork). 

The lessons taught in P.E. go beyond performing at a job but can be used to keep one healthy as well. You are educated on healthy methods of living, and have the responsibility to keep yourself healthy.

But, all the lessons taught in gym class are rarely absorbed effectively. Many students do not put effort into the class, viewing it as a waste of time. Furthermore, most people do not go out of their way to interact with the people they do not know, preferring to stick with their friends in the class. 

P.E. does teach the important skills to get through life. But, doesn’t being a part of a sports team teach you the same skill?

Sports offer the ability to learn leadership skills, self-discipline, and communication skills. So, if sports offer skills you can learn, why do student-athletes have to participate in P.E.? According to one high school coach, “Sports don’t teach you the range of activities that is available in P.E.” 

P.E. allows students to experience a variety of sports/activities. These can range from less traditional games like handball to more traditional sports like basketball. This range of activities is rarely seen in most sports; the closest you can get is track and field, but people will not participate in every event. 

Many schools prevent their athletes from competing due to a student’s neglect for their academics. These institutions have rules that prevent students who are failing their classes from attending practice and playing in games. These students’ lack of good grades can be attributed to their heavy schedules. According to one student-athlete, the heavy dual workload of practice and academics has a very poor effect on the energy of the students. To combat student burnout, offering a study hall during the season of the sport may offer some relief from their workload. 

But, the expectation that students will use their time effectively is far-fetched. Many students do not care about their academics as much as their sports. And, the time offered in a study hall will most likely be wasted on their phones. This lines up with junior Tristen Stephens’s ideas, “only those with good grades already would use the time to their advantage.”

However, that stereotype doesn’t apply to all students. Many athletes simply lack the energy to keep up with their schedule after a long day at a practice or game. Offering these students a place to catch up or get ahead of work would benefit those who chose to take advantage of it. 

A study hall would help get work done, relieve stress, and teach students time management. Time management is an essential part of participating in an out-of-school activity and is a necessary life skill. Students having an opportunity to do more work through the use of a study block would relieve stress from student-athletes and allow for better performance in both sports and school. 

Risk of Injury

According to the National Library of Medicine, one in every twenty-five students obtain injuries every year. Even though these injuries may only require a trip to the school nurse, it leaves the question, should student-athletes participate in something that could potentially cause them to miss opportunities that could get them into college?  

I have known many people who have gotten injuries in P.E. classes that have prevented them from participating in practice.  Just this year, two people on my team haven gotten an injuries that prevented them from participating in our regional competition: one spraining their wrist and the other breaking their ankle. 

Student-athletes’ injuries affect their ability to participate in practice and games; not only affecting the player, but the team too. The loss of a valuable player can lead to the team’s morale/effectiveness drowning in the wake of that player’s absence; this could lead to the team losing, and their season being an overall waste of time. 

Schools forcing student-athletes to participate in P.E. are not only forcing something that offers no elevation for their chosen sport, but also something that puts them at risk of injury. As said by junior Joe Keroack, a swimmer at Ludlow High, “we don’t work out, we just play games.” The risk of injury outweighs the potential benefits offered by P.E. class.

Although P.E. does offer a wide range of activities; the cons of forcing student-athletes to participate outweigh the benefits they can receive. This leaves the question, why do schools force student-athletes to participate in a class when time can be better spent dedicated to other classes?


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