Athletes Don’t Need PE This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

December 30, 2013
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Physical education is a class that is enjoyed by some, but dreaded by many. While the majority of the country is cutting back on PE classes, Chicago Public Schools have made an effort to add more. The extra time in PE is considered necessary in order to combat childhood obesity. But is gym really necessary for those who are active in an extracurricular sport all year round? PE classes should not be mandatory for athletes during their high school season, or for athletes who regularly compete on a travel or club team.

In 2010, a decision was made to allow Cincinnati high school athletes, cheerleaders, and band members to skip gym class. In 2011, athletes at a Wisconsin high school were allowed to replace their PE class with an English, math, or science class. These policies give student-athletes extra time in the classroom and help them balance their athleticism with schoolwork.

This is especially important at schools where athletes are also academically focused. Forcing athletes to take gym uses up a period that they could use for an elective or to participate in a performing arts class. Since the purpose of gym is to teach us how to lead a healthy lifestyle, does it benefit athletes? Wouldn't that time be better spent in an elective, since athletes are already encouraged to be healthy for the sake of their sport? This would allow athletes to pursue other subjects they are interested in, and might also encourage non-athletes to join a sports team.

PE exposes athletes to unnecessary risks. Because they are often loosely organized, gym class sports can put athletes at risk of injuries that could hinder their sports season. PE injuries soared 150 percent from 1997 to 2007. These injuries include cuts, sprains, bruises, and fractures and can be attributed to the lack of supervision in gym class.

An athlete shouldn't get a free pass from gym just for playing a high school sport for a few months. Students should have to demonstrate a full-year commitment to a sport in order to get out of gym. Athletes who compete in more than one sport or train in one sport year-round should be commended for exhibiting year-round dedication to athletics, not punished.

Many health experts do not agree with lawmakers that gym classes are not necessary for athletes. They say that sports teams don't offer lessons on nutrition and healthy living that meet district standards. In many cases, that is true. Some coaches don't stress the importance of healthy eating, stretching, and proper push-up technique. Due to this, schools and athletic organizations should emphasize the importance of these to coaches, who need to be required to teach these to their athletes.

Athletes work hard outside of school, clocking in several hours of practice daily while balancing sleep, homework, and a social life. The least school boards can do is let them sit out of unnecessary PE classes.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

zach from west said...
Apr. 22, 2016 at 1:15 pm
They should not have to take gym if they do a club sport or any sport because if we have for instance a track meet and the gym teacher makes us do a work out then we will be more tired for the meet other than if we just didnt have to take gym in the first place
lalalalaskool said...
Jan. 15, 2014 at 7:11 pm
When was this article posted? Thanks.
Zoe D. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 21, 2014 at 11:08 am
Around December 31 
18pressmans said...
Jan. 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm
This is a very well written article! I am in full support of letting dedicated athletes skip gym class and take part in a academic class. What other thoughts do you have on this topic? Are you going to campaign to make this a reality?
Zoe D. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm
Thanks! Currently, my school district is planning to allow juniors and seniors who participate in 2 varsity sports to skip gym. I want to campaign to allow athletes who play 1 varisity sport +  a  club sport to also be able to skip gym. This is what I do and I train hard all year long in the same sport. 
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