ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The numbers don’t lie. Fewer high school students are playing football.The Missouri State High School Activities Association reports that there are nearly two thousand fewer high school football players this year, than just two years ago.
Grandview High in Hillsboro dropped varsity football to rebuild with the J.V. program. Athletic Director Ronda Hubbard is confident the sport will rebound.
“Football has been mainstay in our society and I think it will continue to be. Actually, when speaking specifically about our situation, I’m super encouraged about the direction of our football program,” she says.
Hubbard says at Grandview, 85 percent of the football players are Freshmen and Sophomores who will be ready to play varsity next year.
A smaller roster and injuries have prompted Priory High School to cancel its football game against Lutheran North on Saturday, marking at least the second time a local game has had to be cancelled for those reasons.
Priory Athletic Director Tom Fiala says it’s a problem that’s being seen at more smaller schools, as fewer kids are playing the sport. Many are blaming recent studies on concussions. Fiala says the shame of that is those studies aren’t about high schoolers.
“The studies that they do in regards to NFL players that have played in the league for 10 or 12 years, it was their job, and it was something they were doing every day,” he says.
Fiala hopes educating parents about the game’s positives, and what’s being done to make it safer, leads to a rebound.