High School Football Participation Dropping, Except in Texas

Friday Night High School Football

Participation in high school football continues to decline by the tens of thousands nationwide, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.

There are still more than 1 million high school football players in the U.S., but the numbers have been falling steadily in recent years.

Gary Joseph, longtime coach at Katy High School, says headlines about concussions don't help.

“It's not about the big hit in my opinion anymore,” says Joseph. “It's about being safe and getting people to the ground.”

But Dr. Jamey Harrison, deputy director of University Interscholastic League, believes families are now focused on only one sport, hoping to cash in on a college scholarship.

“They have the opportunity to do so with the proliferation of non-school sports and club sports, where 10, 15, 20 years ago a kid couldn't play one sport year-round, but now they can,” says Harrison.

“I'm not in any way suggesting that awareness of head injuries is not a part of the conversation because it certainly is, but I really think this sports specialization is the driving factor.”

High school football has actually grown in Texas in recent years -- to nearly 169,000 participating this season.

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