Is Physical Education a Necessity for High School Athletes?

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The debate on whether or not high school athletes should be required to take a physical education course continues to be a prevalent topic.
Student-athletes continue to feel as though there is very little purpose in taking a physical education course from a health standpoint. Teachers, on the other hand, believe physical education is much more than a class to keep kids fit and healthy; they believe gym class offers a wide range of skills that athletes would otherwise not learn.
Coach Frank Robinson stated, “What we teach is completely different than what is learned on a field,” and later shared, “The goal is to learn how to get in shape for your life, along with different ways to get there, not just to be in shape.”
Most students are required to take at least one physical education course throughout their high school career. Specifically, at Hall, freshmen and sophomores have to take gym three times a week, both semesters. Juniors and seniors, on the other hand, are required to take three semesters of gym, two-days a week over the course of those two school years.
With Hall offering a wide array of sports, there are numerous student-athletes. Hall High School continues to be academically competitive, which results in the workload for students to vary depending on the rigger of their schedule. Some athletes take multiple AP classes, which would result in them not having enough hours in the day to get their work done.
Athletes feel as though a study hall or free period in place of a gym would be more beneficial to their academic success, “I think gym class is not important for athletes. I can easily be getting work done instead of running around the gym” states varsity football player Noah Hurt.
Caroline Burkhard, the senior girls swim team captain stated, “Practice is more beneficial, it’s longer and more demanding and you’re able to gain other things like team bonding and friendships you can’t in gym.”
Students feel that physical education could be a waste of time. Ellie Williams, who writes for the Montgomery Blair High School’s Online Student Newspaper states, “The importance of lifelong healthy habits is being instilled outside of school; therefore, there is no need for students to supplement this with an average of three hours of gym class per week. In order to further their studies and avoid injury, student-athletes should instead take a study period.”
With this not being an option at the moment, student-athletes are not getting the appropriate amount of sleep each night strictly because they are up after practice getting their work done.
An extra forty-five minutes to get work done during the day could go a long way. Hall has a great school library, writing center, career center, along with available teachers. Taking advantage of these could help athletes cut down the amount of time they spend doing work at home after practice.
All in all, when asked about if he believes gym class should be required for athletes, high school professor Justin Boucher states, “I think that everybody should take a gym, it does not matter if you are an athlete. Gym exposes you to sports you wouldn’t ordinarily play, interact with people you wouldn’t ordinarily interact with, and test your variety of athleticism.”
It can unanimously be agreed upon, that above all, physical education is a time for students to interact with their classmates in a way that the typical classroom does not provide.