Playing more than one sport can benefit high school athletes, coaches say

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Saturday, September 14, 2019 | 3:45 PM


John Gaillot, in his 11th season as football coach at Freeport High School, said he has had a good track record of his players also being involved in wrestling, basketball and baseball.

He realizes the pull other that sports sometimes have. Offseason camps, leagues and workouts help an athlete continue his or her upward trajectory toward a scholarship or, ultimately, a professional contract.

But he pointed to advantages of playing multiple sports, including football, with a physical benefit that doesn’t limit an athlete to the same muscle use and range of motion all the time. That, he said, lessens the risk of injury.

“It’s always important to have a variety of workouts and activities throughout the year, instead of the same routine all 12 months,” Gaillot said.

In a 2017 survey of NCAA athletes, 71% of Division I football players were multi-sport athletes in high school.

Plum’s Matt Morgan has recently seen a player or two he felt were great fits for football decide to remain with another sport.

“I know our administration now is very supportive of athletes in the school doing more than one sport,” he said. “If you are an athlete, they don’t want you to play just football, basketball or baseball. Obviously, we would like one of those sports to be football, but they don’t want someone staying in one sport all year along. … Being well-rounded benefits all the sports.”

Examples of athletes finding success with multiple sports are endless.

Recent Avonworth graduate Jason Novosel was a four-year standout on the Antelopes’ soccer team, and also excelled at kicking for the football team and ran track.

Aliquippa grad MJ Devonshire, now playing football at Kentucky, was named the Trib HSSN Athlete of the Year last spring after leading the Quips to a PIAA football title. He also starred on the basketball court and won a pair of state track titles in the sprinting events.

Every May, the Northern Athletic Directors Association promotes and encourages participation in a variety of high school sports with its tri-athlete luncheon.

Athletes are recognized for taking part in three sports during one academic year, while maintaining a strong standing both academically and in community service.

The organization’s philosophy?

“It is our belief that while attending high school, one should be encouraged to participate as much as possible and to enjoy all aspects of their educational experience.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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