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Martin awarded Spencer Foundation grant to study high school athletes and activism

Eric Martin, an assistant professor in the department of kinesiology, recently received a grant from the Spencer Foundation.

Martin explained the questions behind his study, “More Than an Athlete: Exploring High School Athletes’ Engagement in Activism.”

“Recently, athletes at the professional and collegiate level have received increased attention as activists for political and social causes such as voting rights and police brutality. The group notably missing from this research are high school athletes,” Martin said.

Martin will use semi-structured interviewing to investigate research questions. These are a few examples of the questions he will ask: How do high school athletes utilize their platform for activism? What barriers in the U.S. high school education system prevent athletes from engaging in activism? How can educators create spaces within high school settings that empower athletes to become activists for political, social, or civic causes?

Since, especially in the high school setting, sports is anchored in education, this project’s goal is to understand the rationale behind young athletes’ engagement in activism and to develop guidelines for helping high school athletes to find their voice for social justice.

Martin said he hopes that this project will help the community understand the challenges that athletes face in being involved with activism and how communities can better help high school athletes find their voices in support of causes they believe in.