7 Committed Organizations Focused On Athletics

While many sports evolved organically from activities humans developed together, the modern versions of these games cannot function without a large institutional infrastructure. From governing bodies to organizations ensuring equipment standards and accessibility, these groups, listed in no particular order, help athletics flourish worldwide.

The #1 entry is Good Sports. This organization's mission is to give all kids the lifelong benefits of athletics and physical activity by providing equipment, apparel, and footwear to those most in need. Located in Braintree, Massachusetts, it works directly with the sporting goods industry to obtain a variety of athletic gear for children.

The group hosts many fundraiser events, such as Turkey Trots. Individuals, workplaces, or other groups can volunteer at the Good Sports warehouse to get equipment directly to kids in need. It has partnered with several professional sports teams, such as the Chicago Cubs, the Atlanta Falcons, and the New York Rangers.

Up next, at #2, we have the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, an independent and nonprofit standards development body. Its mission is to enhance athletic safety through scientific research and the creation of performance benchmarks for sporting gear.

NOCSAE creates standards for equipment such as batters' helmets, baseballs, face guards, and eye protectors. Numerous national and international regulatory bodies for sports require NOCSAE-approved gear, including the NFL, NCAA, and the International Federation of American Football.

Coming in at #3, we have Beyond Sport. This global organization works to promote, support, and celebrate the use of athletics to address social issues in communities worldwide. To achieve this goal, it advises members of athletics organizations, businesses, and government on how sport can be used as a tool to create a stronger society, such as by advancing education and bettering neighborhoods.

With offices in London and New York, Beyond Sport has held major events in Chicago, Cape Town, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and elsewhere. It has also provided millions of dollars worth of funding and support to projects across six continents, addressing a range of social issues. Additionally, the group has commissioned several research projects with leading universities.

At #4, we present USATF Masters, which offers local, regional, national, and international competition opportunities for athletes of all ages. Based in Indianapolis, the group is comprised of dozens of associations that cover the full geographic territory of the United States.

As the national governing body for track and field, long-distance running, and race walking in the US, the organization develops and selects a team to represent the country in the Olympics. In addition, it creates many grassroots programs to help develop the future stars of the sport.

For #5, we have The Drake Foundation. This London-based nonprofit works to understand and improve sports players' health and welfare through scientific research and collaboration. Launched in 2014, it has invested millions into research funding and open access resources.

Much of the organization's work has centered on concussion and head injuries in athletics, focusing on the processes underlying neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. It has also researched the mental and physical health impacts of retirement after a life of sports participation.

The #6 entry is Positive Coaching Alliance. The group provides research-based training and resources for coaches, parents, athletes, and leaders to bolster positive youth development experiences for kids. It has expanded from a small local nonprofit to a nationwide organization that provides programming in all 50 states.

PCA believes that all children can benefit from a positive, inclusive sports culture that develops social and emotional skills, molds character, and prepares them for competition and life. It has partnered with thousands of schools and youth sports organizations nationwide to deliver group workshops.

Rounding out our list at #7 is Women's Sport Trust. Founded in 2012 and based in the United Kingdom, it works to raise the visibility and increase the impact of women's athletics through media coverage and an improved funding landscape. The organization believes that sports can accelerate gender equality and stimulate social change.

Its Game Changer Academy is a program for athletes who wish to be leaders on and off the field. WST provides them with coaching on personal branding, social media training, and working with sponsors. In addition, it mobilizes a group of leading figures from sports, business, and the media to act as mentors to the participants.