Sports (also called athletics) is a broad category that includes any form of actively competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual competition, aims to use, develop or maintain particular physical skill and ability while also providing entertainment for participants, and sometimes, spectators. In the United States alone, there are currently 4.6 million registered active players in high school and college. Additionally, there are an estimated collegiate and professional sports programs in every major university in the United States. However, in most of the United States, organized sports are typically part of the school’s athletic program rather than being its main source of revenue. As a result, the athletic department at most schools has very little funding available to support the development or maintenance of facilities, equipment, or to promote specific team or individual sports.
The National Federation of High School Athletic clubs (NFSAC) is the governing body for most schools in the United States. One of its functions is to define the definition of sport and develop guidelines for maintaining a safe and fair playing environment. The association also works with schools to ensure they meet the standards of the US Olympic Committee and provide opportunities for student-athletes to earn college athletic scholarship. In addition, the association develops athletic training techniques and provides resources to athletes in the pursuit of excellence in physical prowess.
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) regulates the participation of students in college athletic programs and serves as the voice of student athletes in sport and physical education issues. Another umbrella association that encompasses many different organizations and activities dealing with sports and athletics is the National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT). Athletes in sports including track and field, swimming, softball, baseball, basketball and volleyball participate in the NFPT. The NFPT also oversees development, policies and guidelines for schools involved in intercollegiate athletic programs.
Sports medicine is an aspect of physical education that includes prevention, diagnosis and treatment of athletic injuries and illnesses. It is very important for athletes engaged in contact sports to be examined annually by a licensed sports physician and have any injuries or illnesses diagnosed before engaging in strenuous activity or sport. A physical therapist can evaluate athletes for any injury or condition and guide them towards the best course of action. There are several national organizations dedicated to promoting and improving the health of athletes. Some of these associations are the US Olympic Committee, the Sporting Health Foundation (SCHF), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Soccer Coaches Association (NCFAA), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the US Olympic Committee, the Players’ Association of America (PAFA), and the United States Olympic Committee.
Sports psychologists are professionals who assist athletes with sport-related mental health. They ensure fair competition and promote positive attitudes towards the physical aspect of the sport. Sports psychologists should be fully trained in the assessment, evaluation and prevention of athletic injuries and psychological issues such as depression, stress, anxiety, and substance abuse. They must also have expertise and experience in non-traditional mind sports such as karate, yoga, astrology, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy.
In order to develop sportsmanship, individuals must also inculcate principles of citizenship. This includes respecting the rights of other competitors, abiding by the rules of the game, sharing the talent and emotion of competition equally, accepting help from fans and media, and treating fellow athletes with respect and dignity. Sports have helped countless people across the globe improve their physical and mental health. In order to succeed at sports, one must be willing to work, learn and compete. Although it may be hard work, success is possible through proper training, dieting, nutrition, and persistence.