High school football participation has dropped 7 percent nationwide, study shows

High school football participation has dropped 7 percent nationwide, study shows

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A new study shows that fewer and fewer high school football players are choosing to hit the gridiron every year.

Since 2015, the number of football participants in Tennessee has dropped by a little over 1,000 people, and this is the South where football is a way of life.

The study, which was conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations, shows that there's been a seven percent drop nationwide of high school students choosing to play football.

"We've already decided there's other things he can play that's less risky than football," Tanisha Cotton said. "Like I don't know if I want him playing flag football. Why even introduce something I don't want him to do?"

Constant headlines about concussions and other head injuries have her concerned.

While football participation has dropped, participation in other sports has increased by seven percent.

The study also found that among boys' sports, soccer has seen the biggest increase.

"It's just simply because I don't know any program that offers football at such a young age, so I feel like soccer is really capturing that young millennial family," Aaron Rock, with Soccer Shots, said.

At Soccer Shots of Memphis, kids start playing the sport shortly after they learn how to walk.

"Young men and women being able to come and play at a young age of two and letting them just fall in love with the game," Rock said.

But football is still king with over 1 million high school athletes. There is a greater effort to update rules and techniques to prevent injury.

"I actually teach tennis for a living and even in tennis you have injuries, and every sport is going to have injuries and you can't completely prevent those injuries from happening. They're going to occur," David DeGutis said.

This year's survey found a participation in 65 different sports. The the most popular non-traditional sports are badminton, fencing, archery, and even ultimate Frisbee.

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