TRIMBLE COUNTY, Ky (LEX 18)– Friday Night Football is known as an American tradition synonymous with high school, but national and local trends are showing that more and more athletes are leaving the field.
Earlier this month, high school students and parents in Trimble County rallied for football, but it is not just the Trimble County team. Schools across the country are calling it quits on the sport.
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) Commissioner Julian Tackett tells LEX 18 that fear is a big reason that more and more students are choosing to not play.
“The game’s never been safer. Protective equipment’s never been better. But data about what went on 20 years ago has never been more available,” said Tackett.
The data Tackett referred to show what happens to players with concussions, as well as other related injuries, and all of this is scaring players and parents.
In Kentucky, last year’s high school football teams were down more than 400 players. Although final numbers aren’t in for this year, KHSAA knows entire JV Teams will not be returning.
“Our coaches, our schools, our administrators, they’ve got to recruit the hallways a little bit, they’ve got to try to get kids interested,” said Tackett.
Tackett said that they’re allowing modified versions of the sport to keep teams alive, like fielding a team as low as 8 instead of 11.
“Football is so interwoven into the fabric of our schools that the decline is worth worrying about,” said Tackett.
KHSAA said that there are also other things causing the decline in football, such as the decrease in enrollment at many schools and the sheer number of other fall sports for athletes to choose from.