Rep. Mike McIntyre,D-N.C.,announced the 112th Congress Youth Sports Legislative Agenda. McIntyre founded the Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports in 2006 and introduced a measure to designate the last week of July as National Youth Sports Week.
The agenda is titled “F.A.N.S. of Youth Sports” and includes measures to promote fitness,access,nutrition and safety.
“It’s a great time to look back on the past year,honor those who have been a part of youth sports and to look forward,” McIntyre said.
He said 50 million U.S. children play sports.
The guests at the announcement focused on different parts of the proposed legislation. Hockey Hall of Fame member Pat LaFontaine noted the importance of safety in youth sports. He sustained “double digit” concussions during his career,forcing him to retire in 1998 at age 33.
LaFontaine also talked about the importance of access. He mentioned the Ice Hockey in Harlem program as an example of initiatives that promote education through sports participation.
“If it wasn’t for an outdoor rink in St. Louis growing up,I don’t know if I’d be standing here,” he said. “In our society today,it’s a much-needed and important program.”
Abby Markoe,executive director of Baltimore SquashWise,talked about the importance of access to sports. She introduces kids to the game of squash,and the program helps them succeed in school as well.
“Youth participation is critical,no matter what sport it is,” she said.
Former Washington Redskins linebacker Ken Harvey stressed fitness and education. He said many people assume maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program is common knowledge,but often that is not the case.
“It’s one thing to know,and it’s another to act upon what you do know,” Harvey said.
The bills are part of an agenda to require 150 minutes of physical education per week in elementary school and 225 for middle and high school,allow Americans to claim tax deductions for spending up to $1,000 on personal fitness and mandate safe transportation routes for students to bike and walk to school.
“This is not another program of Congress,” McIntyre said. “This is something that is happening already,whether Congress does anything about it or not,so Congress might as well get on the bandwagon.”
Anne Craighill of Positive Coaching Alliance talked about the importance of improving oneself,teammates and the sports as a whole through participation.
“We see athletes as the future leaders of this country,” she said.
Reach reporter Michael Stainbrook at [email protected] or 202-326-9868
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