By Ken Reed

Americans still love football but we continue to be less interested in having our kids play the game.

Football participation numbers have been dropping for quite awhile. The drop is strongly correlated to the increase in concussion awareness among parents.

High school football participation is down 4.5 percent the past decade, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.

However, the biggest drop has been in youth football participation. Parents are less likely to start their kids in football at young ages than they were a decade ago. Youth football leagues — leagues high school programs rely on as feeder systems — had a nearly 30 percent drop in participation from, 2008 to 2013, according to data collected by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.

Participation numbers are likely to continue to drop as parents become more aware of research showing that repetitive sub-concussive impacts to the brain may be as damaging long-term — if not more so — than concussions to the brains of athletes in high-contact sports.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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