High School Football is about as American as apple pie. So why are less kids playing?
According to the Washington Post, high school football participation has been declining in the last decade, dropping 2% from 2016 to 2017 and over 6% in the last decade. (source) In the United States, high school football enjoys a wide margin of popularity above any other high school sports. It's a part of our culture, woven into high school memories for generations. The first time I met my now-husband was at a high school football game. At my school, all the coolest kids played football or cheered for football. The hierarchy of coolness went downhill from there.
Is it the Injuries?
When my eldest son played, one of the kids on his team was developmentally advanced. They were all 13-14 year olds but this kid was taller, faster and stronger than anyone else he encountered. He tackled a kid so hard one game he broke the kids collarbone. Injuries are absolutely going to happen, it's simply a matter of when and how.
In my hometown last week, an important cross town rivalry game was cancelled because one team simply didn't have enough healthy players to play. Not only were there not many players to start with, but on top of it, too many got hurt.
Good or bad?
I don't know if it's a good or bad thing, that high schoolers aren't signing up to play football. I do know that I hope to keep my youngest son away from it for as long as possible. I also feel like it's inevitable... he has skills and he's a big, strong, quick kid, they're going to want him to play. My family also loves football, so it will be difficult to tell him no if he really wants to play. It may simply be one of those things that have changed over time; our children's' memories will be shaped of different stuff, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
What do you think? If High School football is a thing of the past, how do you feel about it?