Participation in high school football programs has fallen 3.5% over the past five years due to concerns about concussions and other brain diseases linked to repeated head injuries.
According to statistics compiled by the National Association of State High School Federations, the decline in numbers would be higher if it wasn't for the high school football strongholds of the Southern, Midwestern and Western US. The numbers clearly show that, "throughout the Northeast, the Midwest and the West Coast, in communities urban and rural, wealthy and working-class, fewer kids are playing football."
Soccer, lacrosse, cross country and flag football are becoming popular alternatives to tackle football in school programs. Participation in the NFL Flag program run by USA Football has seen tremendous growth as tackle football fades.
Concern over brain injuries has even affected the National Football League, which, after years of denial, finally acknowledged a link between concussions and brain disease. It has agreed to pay a $1 billion settlement to former players who had accused the league of hiding the risks of brain injury.
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