National Trends in American Youth Sport during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Understanding Parents’ Perspectives and Experiences


  • Dr. Travis E. Dorsch Utah State University
  • Dr. Jordan A. Blazo Louisiana Tech University
  • Dr. Skye G. Arthur-Banning Clemson University
  • Dr. Dawn Anderson-Butcher Ohio State University
  • Dr. Neeru Jayanthi Emory University
  • Mr. Amand Hardiman Utah State University
  • Mr. Tom Farrey Aspen Institute Project Play Initiative
  • Mr. Jon Solomon Aspen Institute Project Play Initiative
  • Mrs. Jennifer Brown Lerner Aspen Institute Project Play Initiative


Youth sport, COVID-19, Parenting, Health and safety


American children participate relatively ubiquitously in youth sport and parents are intimately engaged in their participation. However, the onset of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has dramatically changed how families consume youth sport. Given this, it is important to explore the new and still-changing landscape of youth sport in the United States. The purpose of the present study was to better understand parent perceptions of the current state of youth sport in the United States amidst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. To address this purpose, a large and statistically representativesubset of youth sport parents in the United States (N= 2603; Mage= 38.72) was recruited via Qualtrics panel to complete a study-designed instrument assessing their perceptions prior to and during COVID-19-related restrictions. Results highlight parents’ experiences in youth sport in the United States amidst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as thier expectations for return-to-play protocols in various organizational, community, and sociodemographic contexts. The present work has the potential to shape the ways families engage with youth sport when COVID-19-related restrictions are ultimately lifted.


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