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High school sports participation up for 27th straight year

August 11, 2016 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
It’s another year of growth for high school sports, as the latest participation survey from the National Federation of State High School Associations shows more kids are playing sports today than ever before.

receiver footballThe NFHS participation survey counted 7,868,900 student-athletes during the 2015-16 school year, an increase of 61,853 from the prior year. This is the 27th consecutive year of growth for high school sports.

One of the most anticipated aspects of the survey is participation in football. The sport has suffered significant declines in its numbers over the years, likely due to concussion awareness and other serious injuries. But the latest numbers show almost no movement, with football losing only 309 student-athletes (dropping from 1,083,617 to 1,083,308). Football remains the most popular sport nationwide.

“The NFHS and its member state associations have taken significant steps over the past 10 years to minimize the risk of participation in football and all high school sports, so this report on the continued strong interest and participation in high school football is very encouraging,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “With the adoption of state laws and protocols for concussion management in place, we continue to believe that the sport of football at the high school level is as safe as it has been since the first rules were written in 1932 – and we believe this year’s participation report is confirmation of that belief.”

Here are some other tidbits from the survey:

  • Track and field reported the biggest gains, adding 12,501 boys and 7,243 girls.
  • Florida passed New Jersey to rank eighth in participation. Texas and California continue to rank No. 1 and 2 respectively.
  • Boys basketball added 4,949 student-athletes, while girls basketball lost 124.
  • Lacrosse, often called the nation’s fastest growing sport, added 4,337 athletes. That similar to its increase from 2013-14 to 2014-15 (4,546).
  • Nationwide, boys participation in all sports increased 25,262. Girls participation is up 36,591.

Click here to review the complete survey.


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