In-person sport participation was suspended across the United States in the spring of 2020 to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The purpose of this study was to survey the impact of COVID-19 on young athletes during a period of social and organized sports restrictions. An anonymous cross-sectional survey study was conducted of youth athletes in the midst of social distancing mandates and consisted of six components: demographics, sport participation, changes in sport-related goals/aspirations, sleep habits, and measures of anxiety and depression. 711 individuals who accessed the survey link yielded 575 (81%) participants with responses available for analysis. All respondents (aged 13.0 years) played organized sports, 62% were single-sport athletes, and 74% considered high-level. Participants were training ∼3.3 h less per week, spending more time outside, and 86% of participants continued to train while social distancing. Sleep duration increased (∼1.2 h/night) and sleep quality improved in 29% of young athletes. Additionally, 22% and 28% reported PROMIS® anxiety and depression scores characterized as ‘mild’, ‘moderate’, or ‘severe’. Older single-sport participants reported higher depression scores, while higher anxiety scores were seen in female participants with fewer years played. 10% of young athletes and 20% of teenagers changed their sports-related goals. Training style modifications, decreased training, and increased sleep quantity and quality were positive effects of COVID-19 restrictions, while athletic aspirational changes were undesirable effects. Single-sport athletes may be at greater risk for psychological symptoms when their routine is altered.
- Psychological Health
- Youth Sports
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health