HANOVER COUNTY, Va. - The Super Bowl is the pinnacle of football. It is a dream of most high school football players to make it there, but according to NCAA statistics, only eight in 10,000 college football players will even be drafted by an NFL team.
Even so, Atlee High School Head Football Coach Matt Gray will tell you football, or any high school sport for that matter, can make a big difference in a student.
"I think that if you talk to just about any coach, they're going to tell you being part of a team, you become something that's bigger than yourself," Coach Gray said.
Participating in sports can also help with academics. A national education study finds the grade point average of a high school athlete was slightly higher than those not involved in athletics.
They also missed fewer school days.
"We'll have guys on our team that are going to play in college. We always tell them, the first thing a coach does when he comes through to recruit is, he's going to ask, what are his grades?" Gray said.
Another study from Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise found student-athletes performed 10% better in core subjects like math, science, social studies, and language arts.
In a Building Better Minds report from last year, we showed you how the Atlee team helped a student with mental challenges overcome his shyness, making him a team manager.
"There's a lot of relationships built in the weight room, on the practice field, and the locker room. That socialization is a huge piece," Gray said. "You talk about relationships? You look at Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. That relationship never happens if it's not for football."
Again, most young football players will never make it to football’s biggest game.
But they can win big in life by building relationships, building confidence... and Building Better Minds.
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