Despite difficult odds, many parents still hope their child will become a professional athlete.
According to a “Sports and Health in America” study done last year by National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 26 percent of parents surveyed whose child played sports hoped their kid would one day play alongside stars like LeBron James and Cam Newton. Those views varied by socioeconomic status.
Parents with household incomes less than $50,000 annually were more likely to say they hoped their child would became a professional athlete than those making more than $50,000 (39 percent to 20 percent of parents surveyed).
Parents with a high school education or less also were more likely to say they hoped their child became a pro, versus parents who were college educated (44 percent to nine).
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The numbers, of course, bear out that the chances of a high school kid playing in college are slim, at best.
And the chances of a high school kid playing professionally are miniscule.
The NCAA reports there are more than eight million U.S. high school athletes. Of those, only 480,000 will compete at NCAA schools in any sport.
According to the NCAA, of its 34,198 NCAA baseball players, 738 were drafted last year. In men’s basketball, there were 18,697 players and 46 were drafted. Football? There were 72,788 players and 256 drafted.
Other facts from the sports survey:
▪ Kids today play soccer much more than adults 30 or more did when they were younger, 14 percent now to six percent in the past. Few kids today play baseball or softball (11 percent) than in the past (17 percent).
▪ Among boys, basketball and soccer were the most popular sports (17 percent of sports participants), followed by football (16 percent), baseball/softball (11 percent), swimming (six percent) and running/track (six percent). Among girls, basketball was most popular (15 percent), followed by baseball/softball and volleyball (13 percent each), soccer (11 percent) and running/track (eight percent).
▪ About nine in 10 parents whose kids are playing middle or high school sports said their child benefited greatly by playing. Only one percent said their child did not benefit.
▪ Less affluent parents are much more concerned with costs associated with playing sports. One in three with household incomes of less than $50,000 annually said sports cost too much. Just one in six parents with household incomes of more than $50,000 annually said the same.