Originally Published: February 13, 2016 6 a.m.
PRESCOTT - Athletes at Prescott High School who participate in multiple sports throughout the year will get some added recognition.
In an email to parents on Feb. 3, athletics director Missy Townsend announced the school's "Triple Threat Athlete Initiative" - an idea she borrowed from other schools.
She said the idea is to encourage student athletes to participate in multiple sports and not specialize during high school.
"This has made it very difficult to field teams in several sports," Townsend said.
Starting in the current year, any high school student at Prescott High School who participates in sports during all three seasons will receive a T-shirt and a pass for all PHS athletic events for the following year. But Townsend said the impacts of the program will go further.
She said there's a misconception among parents and coaches of students who excel at one sport, a sense that if they work hard in one area, it will guarantee them a spot in college.
"That's just not true," she said, citing a relatively low percentage of high school athletes who attend college on athletic scholarships.
She said students who participate in multiple sports have statistically higher grades and fewer attendance or behavior problems - factors that have greater weight in college entrance and scholarship applications.
Townsend pointed to research that indicates multi-sport athletes have "increased speed, agility, and flexibility, and a decrease in recovery time, muscle pain, and stiffness."
She added that single-sport athletes are more prone to tendonitis and injuries due to repetitive use of the same muscles and joints.
"Not to mention how fun it is to play," she said. "If we can get more of our best athletes to play multiple sports, it will help them and our athletic programs."
She repeated the reminder to the community that the primary source of funds for athletics programs is community support, and improvements in the programs often lead to more support from alumni and community partners.
For more information about the program, contact Townsend at 928-445-2322.
Follow reporter Les Bowen on Twitter @NewsyLesBowen. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 1110, or 928-830-9305.