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Families feel like they’re in the penalty box, going into debt so their kids can play sports

Some families say they are going into debt so their kids can play sports.

It’s a reality for over 70% of U.S. parents, according to a recent Lending Tree survey.

For Nathan Allen, two of his four kids are into every sport they can be in: Basketball, football, lacrosse, water polo, baseball and swimming.

Allen knows a thing or two about sports equipment.

“I have tons (of) lacrosse balls,” Allen said. “Probably around $600 worth of that, that’s laying around somewhere in the house. Football helmets everywhere. Basketball. One thousand basketballs --everywhere. Too many to count.”

According to a 2022 survey by Project Play and Utah State, the average family pays just under $890 on one child’s primary sport each year.

“It’s real expensive. There’s no way around it,” Allen said.

He says his family is always looking for ways to save.

“We are big we are big fans of Play It Again Sports. I mean after every year, every season we go through all of our equipment and say, ‘OK, what do we not need anymore?’”

Play It Again Sports will buy your old gear, or you can take credits to use for the equipment you need.

Sideline Swap and eBay are also great options for buying and selling gear.

Allen said the most underrated way to save: talk to parents with older children.

“It’s amazing how many times you go into these garages and your friends, and they’ve just got seven years’ worth of baseball equipment, or football, or soccer, which is sitting there,” Allen said.

When it comes to the team fees, Allen said you may be able to get them waived or a scholarship may be available.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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