Commentary: Sport specialization can do more harm than good

USA TODAY | May 3, 2017
By: Bob Gardner, Executive Director, NFHS and Scott Hallenbeck, CEO and Executive Director, USA Football 

More student-athletes are gaining the benefits, fun and rewards of high school sports than ever before. Studies support the notion that athletics advance the health of our young people and make a positive difference in their lives. But there’s more to this story.

Underreported are the added benefits of playing multiple sports and the harm done by specializing in one sport at a young age.

2A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP – Reidsville wins their 16th title convincingly, 58-12 over Holmes

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Reidsville Rams captured the school’s 16th state championship to go along with three regional titles they won in the 1960’s when play didn’t culminate in a full state champion as they blew past John A. Holmes 58-12. Jaron Letterlough accounted for five touchdowns, four rushing and one receiving on his way to M.V.P. honors in the game.


4A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP – Dudley dominant over Cape Fear en route to their fourth championship

RALEIGH, N.C. – It didn’t take long, one minute to be exact, for the Dudley Panthers to seize control of the 4A State Championship Game against Cape Fear. Dudley took the reins on the third play from scrimmage as Hendon Hooker lofted a pass down the left sideline to Nigel Fitzgerald who hauled it in and sprinted 79 yards for the opening score and as he took off, so did the Panthers, never to look back.


3AA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP – Weddington claims school’s first football title with 33-20 win over Eastern Guilford

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Eastern Guilford took an early lead on the first play from scrimmage, but ultimately it was Weddington’s defense that won the day as the Warriors managed a a 33-20 victory in the 3AA State Title game. It was the school’s first football championship in two appearances in the finals.


4AA Football Championship Recap – Wake Forest claims Wake County’s first football title since 1987 with 29-0 win over Greensboro Page

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Wake Forest Cougars defense led the way to make the school’s fourth appearance in the state championship game and defense dominated the day bringing the Cougars their first state championship with a 29-0 victory over Greensboro Page.


3A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP – South Point avenges OT championship loss last year, edge Rocky Mount 16-7 to win school’s fourth state title

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Thomas Lempereur booted three field goals to make the difference for South Point in a 16-7 victory over Rocky Mount, winning the 3A State Championship and claiming the school’s fifth football state championship. The victory for the Red Raiders avenged an overtime loss in last year’s 3A State Championship to Rocky Mount.


2AA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP – Shelby claims fourth straight football championship with a 28-6 win over Northside-Jacksonville

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Golden Lions of Shelby had lived up to the “Golden” moniker all season long as the Lions had never trailed at any point of the 2016 football season coming into the school’s fourth straight appearance in the state championship game. They never trailed in the 2AA title game either, as Shelby took down Northside-Jacksonville 28-6 to win the school’s ninth state title all-time and their fourth straight.


1A Football Championship Recap – Murphy holds off Plymouth 15-14 to win school’s 8th title

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Murphy Bulldogs found themselves down a score twice in the 1A Football State Championship game, but the Bulldogs controlled the game for much of the afternoon rushing for 354 yards and holding the ball for over 29 minutes of the 48 played on the way to a 15-14 win. It was the Bulldogs eighth state championship win in NCHSAA play and the seventh for head coach David Gentry.


1AA Football Championship - Wallace-Rose Hill claims third straight title upending West Montgomery 30-7

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Wallace-Rose Hill Bulldogs are no stranger to the 1AA State Championship game as the team came into the 2016 1AA State Championship against West Montgomery as the two-time defending champion. The Bulldogs nabbed the early lead on a 15- yard TD by Javonte Williams and ran to a 30-7 victory over the Warriors claiming their third straight title.