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Why ESPN Believes Access to Sports is a Slam Dunk

Teachers tell us over and over again that playing sports helps their students improve their grades, pay attention in class, and engage with their school community. That’s one reason ESPN is matching donations to projects that give students access to sports equipment and spaces to play: It’s not just about the game.
Two years ago, ESPN inaugurated the “Access to Sports” match offer by doubling donations to hundreds of classroom projects. They’ve also supported sports projects in communities hosting Monday Night Football and in partnership with the College Football Playoff Foundation by making sure students in Dallas could learn and thrive. With that kind of track record, it’s no surprise we were excited that they joined us this year for the hat trick!
Here are three classroom projects supported by ESPN that show how learning to play a sport can improve students’ health, focus, and attitude on and off the court.
Mr. Mandelbaum wants his students to get out and play

“By promoting health and sports activities appropriately, I am hoping that the students will also then be able to sit and focus while in a classroom.”
Mrs. Yokoyama’s kids learn the fundamentals of a slam dunk

“Learning basketball at a young age not only helps encourage exercise, but serves as a foundation for staying active later in life.”
Teacher Alejandre engages high-schoolers with kickball

“Students will be more willing to participate, continue playing, and explore other sports if they have success, which we hope kickball can provide.”
Thanks to ESPN, over 400 teachers like these have had the chance to get their kids on the field this year. Those teachers understand that playing sports can help their students develop life skills that will stick with them forever, like teamwork and grit.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s play ball!

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