It’s been well publicized that the rise in head trauma related to football impacts has led to a decrease in youth football participation. What hasn’t been known as definitively to this point is how much that decline would trickle down (or up?) to the high school level.
Now we know, at least in one very popular area.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times’ Eric Sondheimer, high school football participation in California decreased by 3,520 student athletes in 2015 to a total of 100,205. That’s a decrease of 3.4 percent, a pretty significant percentage in terms of year-over-year statistics.
What’s more striking is the contrast between football participation and participation across all sports generally. According to the Times, participation in all high school sports reached an all-time high in 2015 with 779, 256 athletes.
Naturally, one can’t generalize national results based purely on the results from one state, even the most populous one in America. Still, the California data may be troubling ahead of a broader statistical roll out by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), which should be released before year’s end.