Jane Addams’ Forgotten Legacy: Recreation and Sport

Jerry F. Reynolds II – Louisiana State University School of Social Work


The intersection of social work and sport have a rich, yet largely undocumented history. In the early days of the profession, one of its founders, Jane Addams, in addition to many roles, served her community as a defacto athletic director. This commentary provides an historical overview discussing the intersection of social work in sport-based environments and community practice with American immigrants. Highlighted are details concerning populations served, the physical spaces created for sport and recreation, and the program influences generated by Addams. The author’s intent is to provide an impetus to expand the profession of social work in sport-based environments, carrying on the legacy of early social work.