PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A recent national study reveals kids who participate in team sports were less likely to have signs of anxiety, depression, withdrawal, and social or attention problems compared to children involved in individual sports.

Researchers stress it’s critical to re-engage kids in sports – especially after pandemic shutdowns.  

The growing attention of youth mental health is one of the reasons the coaches at Skyhawks Sports, a local organization providing sports camps for children ages 4-14, are seeing a spike in the number of signups for fall sports.

“Our mission is teaching life skills through sports,” Skyhawks Sports Academy owner Mike Alarcon said.

Alarcon also described the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on academy enrollment.

“As early as last year, once we could start getting back outside again, we actually saw record enrollment. We’ve seen a huge demand for kids and then for families wanting to get active. Talking to a lot of parents, it’s getting their kids social as well because I think that’s one thing that’s been missing,” Alarcon said.

Now, as outdoor sports may be limited approaching the winter months, Alarcon noted “we do just about everything we can indoors,” adding, “in Portland, it’s not new to us to have to be indoors most of the year.”

Alarcon noted the academy offers several indoor programs including soccer, basketball and golf.