Posted by Rachel Leigh - email
(WFLX) - The "New York Times" reports one in three high school girls plays sports compared to half of boys. Even though numbers are evening out, experts say, many girls are missing out on the lifelong benefits of competition -- high self esteem, better grades and a head start on a healthy future.
But, as we found out, some young girls are ignoring labels and opening their own doors into the world of competitive sports, and these young athletes will leave you in the dust.
This team is determined to show the world that track doesn't just belong to boys. "There's really no difference between the girls and guys in here," said 17-year-old Manon Payne.
"Sometimes, it's kind of fun when I win and the boys say, 'Oh my God! A girl beat me,'" 9-year-old Aliyah Payne added.
Third grader Aliyah won her first trophy in BMX racing at age 3.
They're breaking down barriers and taking risks, but studies show risking it in sports actually protects girls from making more dangerous decisions.
In one national survey, young female athletes were less than half as likely to get pregnant as non-athletes. Girls' participation in high school sports has also led to a 7 percent reduced risk of obesity for women 25 years later.
Fourteen-year-old Anna Webster is one of those girls. She plays softball and dances, but her real love is shooting. "It's kind of like a little adrenaline rush. It's kind of like a drug," she said. "It's addictive, you know."
A teenager taking aim at her future and leveling the playing field along the way.
The passing of Title IX in 1972, which provided money for women's high school sports, is credited for about 40 percent of the rise in employment for women between the ages of 25 and 34.