National drop in high school sports participation not hurting Kansas

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A new report from the National Federation of State High School Associations says fewer kids are playing high school sports.

In Kansas, high school sports organizers aren’t seeing a big drop off.

“We were down ever so slightly at the high school level by about 220 kids, which out of 175,000 plus opportunities is really quite small,” said Bill Faflick, Kansas State High School Activities Association executive director.

Faflick said KSHSAA provides kids with good educational opportunities throughout the state. He said participation rates have stayed about the same for the last five years.

Nearly every high school is a part of KSHSAA and over 400 middle schools are too. That includes Seaman Middle School in Topeka.

Chad Uhler is the school’s athletic director. He said the school’s sports programs are thriving.

At Seaman they have goal to get 100 percent of students to be in at least two groups or sports team.

“We know that when kids are involved they tend to put forth more effort, they tend to put more passion into it, they’re more connected, just like a community,” Uhler said.

He said whether it’s football or drama club, getting students interacting with each other is important.

“When you have that connection to the school and other classmates and teammates, and you start building your own resource web, we know that positive things happen,” said Uhler.

Faflick said getting involved with multiple activities makes students well-rounded.

“You learn to play for a different coach, you learn how to respond to a different group of teammates, you learn how to be a leader sometimes and other times you’re a role player, and those different lessons, those different roles that you play in different activities are really important,” Faflick said.

Both say that getting students involved at a young age will help students down the road.

“We try to encourage everyone to be involved, because we know that that will also lead to strong programs at the high school level,” said Uhler.

KSHSAA has 33 activities for students ranging from scholars bowl to bowling.

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