SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - High school football is back but, officials say the sport’s popularity is on a relatively downward track.
The National Federation of State High School Associations will release it’s sport participation figures in August and football’s figures are expected to be slightly less than they were the year before.
“There’s no doubt numbers have declined in football in San Diego,” said California Interscholastic Federation San Diego Commissioner Jerry Schniepp. “last year when we looked at overall participation I think we were down about 2% and it may be a little more than that now.”
Jerry Schniepp is San Diego’s prep sports chief and he says parents are concerned about their kids' safety.
"Parents have to make a tough call now whether or not to let their son or daughter play football,” said Schniepp, “you can’t take the risk out of a sport like football it’s always going to be there."
The CIF says 5 schools in the last 3 years have had to fold their non-varsity teams due to dwindling participation.
Schniepp says the concern over concussions and CTE are certainly founded, but the gear in the sport has never been safer.
“It’s the sport that sets the tone for a school year for most schools it helps build a positive culture, it helps fund a lot of those programs so I don’t think football is going away” said Schniepp, “but I think it’s changed.”