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Australian Children Were The Real Victims Of COVID-19 Shutdown Of Sports

O
nly 17% of Australian children were still able to take part in organised physical activities outside of school due to COVID-19, Sport Australia’s latest AusPlay survey has revealed.

The survey results show just how the shutdown of organised sport in Australia, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has affected sport and physical activity habits across Australia, showing children missed out the most.

The results show that compared to the 17% of Australia children who were still able to continue to be active, 73% of Australian adults continued to be active during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Sport Australia acting CEO, Rob Dalton, said the AusPlay survey shows just how Australians engage with sport and physical activity, and how attitudes shifted during COVID-19 lockdowns.

“We know COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our ability to be active and participate in organised sport,” Dalton said.

“Not only did Australians change how and how often they were physically active, but their reasons for doing so changed as well, with more participants moving for mental health and social reasons.

“With organised sport on hold these figures (17% of children able to take part in organised physical activities outside of school) make sense and that’s why successfully rebooting children’s organised sport is crucial.

“We need to get kids moving again and meeting the recommended one hour of physical activity a day,” he said.

Speaking more about the changes in Australia’s attitude towards sport due to COVID-19, Dalton said the research highlights the important role sport can play in bringing communities together.

“Almost half (44%) of Australians said they missed sport being in their life and 57% of adult participants were looking forward to being able to play their chosen sport again,” Dalton said.

“Those who found it easier during the sports shutdown to remain active and engaged in physical activity reported feeling a greater sense of wellbeing, optimism and connection, which serves to demonstrate the crucial role that sports can play in the national recovery from the pandemic,” he said.

Australian minister for youth and sport, Richard Colbeck, said the Australian Government is focused on supporting sport as the nation continues to deal with the challenges of COVID-19.

“The report clearly illustrates the impact the pandemic has had on the nation’s sports participation and physical activity, and there is no doubt sport will play a prominent role in leading our recovery,” Colbeck said.

“This is an unprecedented challenge, but we are getting on with the job of supporting sport.

“With over 13 million participating in organised sport each year, it is an essential part of Australian life.

“The Australian Government, through Sport Australia, is committed to ensuring sport comes through this period in the best position it can.

“Our sports have been engaged regularly to understand and support their needs as much as possible, and for some it will be a long recovery process.

“Outside of funding, there are a range of services and initiatives available and under development at Sport Australia that will provide invaluable assistance in this process,” he said.

Dalton also said the future survival of sport in Australia relies on community involvement.

“Sports are now facing another big challenge, getting participants and volunteers back, but you can help.

“Join a local team or volunteer your time.

“We can all play a role to help sport not just survive, but thrive again,” he said.