The Abbotsford board of education has granted Rick Hansen Secondary School the city’s newest sports academy.
The Human Performance Academy will kick off in the 2019/20 school year with an annual fee of $850 after recently getting the nod from the school board.
The Human Performance Academy will, rather than focusing on one sport, allow students to “embrace the multitude of sports in which our students are engaged.”
A report from school district superintendent Kevin Godden says there is evidence that exposing students to multiple sports improves not just their physical abilities, but also their “love of sport and long-term adherence to healthy lifestyles.”
The Human Performance Academy, officials say, would help athletes and para-athletes from all sports to “reach their athletic potential in a single academy.”
“Rick Hansen Secondary has a strong history in athletic performance and, over the last four years, has produced two provincial championship teams and national wrestling champions, not to mention the successes students achieve outside of the realm of school sport,” the report reads.
Trustee Rhonda Pauls, whose background is in sports leadership development, said research has shown that single-sport streams for high-level academies can lead to overuse injuries for certain muscles.
“This is just a holistic approach to wellness and body care and personal fitness and training and preparation to keep your body well,” Pauls said. “I was just so impressed with what the focus of the program was and I’m so excited to see us moving in that direction.”
The program will take an individualized approach to devising training plans for each athlete, according to the report.
“The primary focus of this type of training is creating well-balanced and durable athletes that are injury-resistant, while at the same time teaching them how to have a full spectrum metabolism,” Godden’s report says.
“A key area of focus will be on biomechanical assessments and the ability of each athlete to exceed their potential. Inherent weaknesses plaguing single-sport athletes will be identified as part of these assessments and addressed through individual planning.”
The program will run twice weekly in early-morning classes, extending the athletes’ days, and co-ordinators believe they can get at least 25 students in the first year. Priority will be given to students entering Grades 10 through 12 and targeting specifically students from Rick Hansen Secondary.
But the intent is to ultimately develop junior and senior cohorts for the program, “where students can advance through increasingly complex training concepts.”
“This provides an amazing opportunity for [students]; initial interest in the academy is quite high,” Godden told the school board.