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Using the Health Sport Index from The Aspen Institute’s Project Play

Using the Health Sport Index from The Aspen Institute’s Project Play
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By Robert L. Herron, MA, CSCS*D, ACSM-CEP |

The Healthy Sport Index is a new and unique tool that can help people explore and learn about youth sports in an effort to inform one’s choice regarding which sports might best suit their interests and needs.  The tool uses data from a variety of previously-published research reports.  

In this tool, created by The Aspen Institute’s Project Play, allows users rate their perceived importance of three health-related criteria (i.e., Physical Activity, Safety, Psychosocial Benefits) and those data are used select and present information about sports that best meet one’s weighted-criteria ratings.

The results are ranked based on the input and research data (ranked 1-10) and grouped by gender. The tool allows one to further explore each sport by providing access to a data summary, editable sport comparison matrix, a list of complementary sports, and a summary of best practices to make the sport safer.

It is important to recognize, the tool is not ranking what sport is “Best”. Rather, the Health Sport Index is designed to provide information to those looking to have a more-informed understanding of what sports fit their youth’s needs. It even summarizes the key research findings from the Health Sport Index’s datasets – including interesting information related to: energy expenditure rates by sport and gender and time spent on sport, to name a few.

Youth sport plays a significant role in society. However, it is imperative that society provide their youth with sports that meet their needs and allow for growth and development in ways that maximize safety, enjoyment, wellness, and health. I encourage you to go check out the website for yourself and learn more about how the Healthy Sport Index can support youth in your community.

Robert L. Herron is Acting Director of Sport Exercise Science at the United States Sports Academy.  Robert is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® with distinction from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CSCS*D®) and a Clinical Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM-CEP®). rherron@ussa.edu


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