View Full Version : Is the writing on the wall for football?



Jersey Boss
08-24-2018, 09:54 AM
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/friday-night-lights-start-dim-high-school-football-n902886

SOUTHLAKE, Texas ó New numbers show a decline in participation in high school football across the country, and a dimmer future even in the state where the Friday night lights burn brightest ó Texas.

Football participation peaked in American high schools in the 2009-2010 school year at 1.1 million players. That was less than two years after stories first emerged about the tragic toll of concussions in the sport.

Since then, the number of kids playing high school football has fallen 7 percent, and the decline has accelerated during the past two years. During the school year ending in spring 2018, participation fell in 40 states.
In Texas, the number of kids playing high school football has fallen 2 percent since its peak in the 2010-2011 school year.

It appears the fallout from CTE is impacting the sport and will continue to do so, from the bottom to the top.

Pete
08-24-2018, 10:01 AM
I'm not surprised in the drop in numbers.

I love football more than anyone but if I had kids I wouldn't let them play that sport.

TheSteveHunt
08-24-2018, 10:13 AM
Brutal sport. I am surprised haters want Kapernick to not play, as playing is very bad for you. He is lucky he got out.

BoulderSooner
08-24-2018, 10:18 AM
Cte currently has no proven link to football. And no proven link of what causes cte and what cte causes

Martin
08-24-2018, 10:21 AM
i really enjoy watching american football and am glued to the screen most saturdays... but i don't see how the sport can continue with the health risks associated with it and i don't see the public being as interested in watching the sport if the aspects that make it dangerous are phased out.

BoulderSooner
08-24-2018, 10:24 AM
i really enjoy watching american football and am glued to the screen most saturdays... but i don't see how the sport can continue with the health risks associated with it and i don't see the public being as interested in watching the sport if the aspects that make it dangerous are phased out.

Boxing is still going strong. And ufc is more popular than ever. Both are significantly more dangerous than football

Pete
08-24-2018, 10:27 AM
Boxing is still going strong. And ufc is more popular than ever. Both are significantly more dangerous than football

But microscopic in comparison to football in terms of participation and audience.

Jersey Boss
08-24-2018, 10:35 AM
Boxing is still going strong. And ufc is more popular than ever. Both are significantly more dangerous than football

You are comparing apples to oranges. A team sport versus individual. Not many high schools have UFC or boxing programs. Football is dependent on being fed through the younger ranks. If kids aren't playing in high school, it dries up the college pool. It is hard to argue when 40 states show a decline in participation. Included in that decline is Texas, which speaks volumes. I will state that I enjoy college football and to a lesser extent NFL and high school.
I don't know if the dangerous aspects are phased out if interest would decline. Fighting in the NHL has been legislatively decreased in the league and helmets became mandatory in the 1970's. I don't know if either one of those caused a decrease in interest.

aDark
08-24-2018, 10:42 AM
I am an avid football fan. I closely follow both college football and NFL. I enjoy going to games, participating in fantasy football, etc. Despite my fandom I will never let my son play the game. If he came to me, as a teenager, and asked to play I guess I'd consider it. But hewill not be encouraged to play and we certainly won't sign him up for anything football related. It's just too dangerous.

Most of my friends and peers seem to also feel this way. The study above confirms what I assumed was happening. Millennials are not letting their kids play football. I don't think this trend is stopping anytime soon.

Pete
08-24-2018, 10:57 AM
Besides head trauma, players keep getting bigger, faster and stronger but there is only so much that can be done to protect joints -- especially knees and hips.

I have a friend who played football at OU in the early 70's who just had to have full replacements on both hips. And he was a DB and played when everyone was considerably smaller and less strong.

rezman
08-24-2018, 11:22 AM
I didn't play football when I was in school, but I was in weight lifting, wrestling, bicycling, water skiing, dirt bikes. I was very active in play. I've taken some shots to the head over the years and my knees are now about shot and my shoulders give me trouble now and then, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. My parents practically had to drag me inside. I'm sure the decline in participation in football has just as much to do with millennials laying around on the couch inside playing on their electronic devices as anything else.

Laramie
08-24-2018, 11:28 AM
You' ll see trends peak in many sports. The focus on early injuries in youth & high school football concussions are of grave concern. My boys wanted to play football, told them that if they could play soccer for conditioning; then we would talk about football--they never brought the subject up after playing years of soccer.

gopokes88
08-24-2018, 12:10 PM
football is going to decline but it will always be a staple of American sports. And the elite athletes in football come from backgrounds that kids almost donít have another choice. Sports is the way out and the # of scholarships and professional jobs is huge. The drop in participation is mostly among suburban kids.

aDark
08-24-2018, 12:28 PM
I didn't play football when I was in school, but I was in weight lifting, wrestling, bicycling, water skiing, dirt bikes. I was very active in play. I've taken some shots to the head over the years and my knees are now about shot and my shoulders give me trouble now and then, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. My parents practically had to drag me inside. I'm sure the decline in participation in football has just as much to do with millennials laying around on the couch inside playing on their electronic devices as anything else.

Hard disagree. In response to your anecdotal take, I also grew up playing baseball, basketball, football, tennis, golf, and a little soccer. I also spent tons of time camping, hiking and fishing. I've broken my arm twice, nose once, several toes, and I have fond memories of my dad stitching up my smaller cuts over the kitchen sink. My kid will be pushed, not "encouraged", but actively pushed to live as active and competitive life as possible.

So no, I don't think it's that we millennials are too busy on their devices. I think it's that we have a healthy respect for science and study-based findings. The science currently shows football is dangerous. Simple as that.

OKCretro
08-24-2018, 12:43 PM
an old rumor is that when OU was redoing Owen field that Boren made sure the field of play including the sidelines were big enough for soccer as well in case football went away and soccer became the premier sport. Not sure if this is true

stlokc
08-24-2018, 01:49 PM
My wife is a Notre Dame alum and they just completed a massive renovation of their football stadium - the story is, not only was it designed to easily transition to other sports, but the interior infrastructure is designed so that classrooms and other facilities can be easily carved out of it in years to come.

And that's Notre Dame. Football powerhouse (like OU) that senses that changes are coming in years down the road.

SoonerDave
08-24-2018, 03:00 PM
Extremes always seem inevitable, but I think reality will be a continued work toward safety in rules and equipment. Reality is almost always in the middle. Not *every* player gets CTE or deadly injuries.

mugofbeer
08-24-2018, 04:00 PM
I didn't play football when I was in school, but I was in weight lifting, wrestling, bicycling, water skiing, dirt bikes. I was very active in play. I've taken some shots to the head over the years and my knees are now about shot and my shoulders give me trouble now and then, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. My parents practically had to drag me inside. I'm sure the decline in participation in football has just as much to do with millennials laying around on the couch inside playing on their electronic devices as anything else.

I think people need to be careful to separate what is "normal" wear and tear from extreme use vs. abnormal. l played a ton of baseball and can tell you about damage done to my knees and arthritis in my throwing arm. Anyone who plays any sport, runs significantly or lifts weight seriously can testify joints, ligaments and tendons can simply wdar out. Genetics plays a significant part in that some people have no ill affects while others have great difficulty.

Unlike the post earlier, l have no doubt CTE is a bad side effect from too many blows to the head. Not everyone will get it but many will. Great advances are being made in helmet protection and rule changes for hits. Yes, football is tough, but some people need that outleg end love playing the game. The NFL has been hesitant to admit the CTE link for fear of lawsuits. If the NFL could be protected from the lawsuits in exchange for full admittance of the CTE link, and a commitment to help all players with current and future medical bills, as well as design and research to reduce head injuries.
For those of you who have said you won't let your children play football, l respect your decisions and I'm not intending to insult . l see this as being a little like the overprotective parents who feel they have to accompany their children everywhere for fear of kidnapping, don't let their children ride bikes around the neighborhood or walk to stores, school or friends houses. Some go so far as contacting CPS if they see other people letting thier children be on their own.

Whats right for one person may not be right for others. Playing sports is the only way to success for many. Football is the most popular sport in the country, l suspect there will be adjustments that will put football back in acsafer zone. Don't ever think all injuries can or will be prevented because all sports involve occasional injuries.

rezman
08-24-2018, 07:16 PM
^ This.

And donít forget.... Everyone gets a trophy.

On another note. Look up former NFL Offensive Guard Conrad Dobler. Known as one of footballís dirtiest players. After multiple knee replacements, His knees donít even look like knees, and he is now disabled.

TheSteveHunt
08-24-2018, 07:27 PM
Hope this isn't the end, I'm not too thrilled with my fantasy team.14868

SoonerDave
08-25-2018, 12:30 PM
One thing to keep in mind is that this is arguably the worst period *ever* in terms of negative PR for football as a sport. Yup, ratings are down. Participation is down. But if that means there are still close to 1M kids playing football in Texas instead of 1.1M, the sport is hardly on it's deathbed. Like any other entertainment entity, football at all levels has to compete for discretionary income dollars with other things; mobies, other sports, and sometimes, nothing. To say football won't adjust is, to me, rather short-sighted, although the sport is in some ways going through some denial of it's *need* to adjust.

I certainly appreciate the concern for injuries. My son broke his leg playing FB in high school, but never had a concussion, although playing at a higher level was not really in the offing. We know concussions and hits can contribute to CTE. I would live to see some data about how the contact inherent in the game leads to CTE more or less than the general population, and against that of other sports. Right now, the topic is radioactive. There's not much neutral, comparative data on which to make *informed decisions* about participation. What's the average players probability of developing CTE compared to the general population? On a per-position basis? I don't think that's out there right now. Say "CTE" and "football" in the same sentence. Right now and people blanch. That's not objective. What if we were to find out the threshold for contact conducive for CTE were drastically lower than we think? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I don't think we know. It's understandably hard not to be reactionary, but we need to press for data and facts.

Every sport has a risk of injury in varying degrees of severity. The ability to make an informed judgment about the risks is the only way we can make intellig nt, not emotional, decisions about the future of the sport.

Eric
08-25-2018, 08:36 PM
All I will add is that people need to be careful when trying to attempt to correlate two potentially independent things. There are obvious health issues with American football. However, I have yet to see anything that actually ties that to drops in participation, or even anything that indicates it is a significant motivating factor.

There are many MANY reasons why things happen. Some that could potentially be at play her are:

*economics - parents don't have the time to dedicate to it because of work commitments
*economics 2 - parent's just plane old don't have the money to adequately equip their kids at the youth levels.
*Kids Interests - Our population is diversifying, and by and large from areas that don't participate in American football period
*electronic Devices - while probably minuscule, I'm sure this does play a role in the general sentiment regarding physical activity
*parent's health concerns - obviously

Honestly as a parent of young children, I feel my kid had better pick something by the time they are 6 or risk being left in the dust. I personally didn't play organized football until I was 12 years old. I had no issue keeping up with kids that maybe had been playing longer, but at that time youth leagues weren't plucking 7 year-olds for their rosters. Middle school was about the time organized football even became a thing. I know now it is dramatically different. I personally think this may be another one of those factors. Parents like myself just don't have the time to string each one of their kids out on activities that essentially are year round and each demand hours from the kid and parent each week.

emtefury
08-26-2018, 03:30 PM
Honestly as a parent of young children, I feel my kid had better pick something by the time they are 6 or risk being left in the dust. I personally didn't play organized football until I was 12 years old. I had no issue keeping up with kids that maybe had been playing longer, but at that time youth leagues weren't plucking 7 year-olds for their rosters. Middle school was about the time organized football even became a thing. I know now it is dramatically different. I personally think this may be another one of those factors. Parents like myself just don't have the time to string each one of their kids out on activities that essentially are year round and each demand hours from the kid and parent each week.

This is a slight thread highjack, but you picked up on youth sports these days. I recall when I was kid we started sports at third grade. We signed up for the local league and everyone was put onto a team. The teams were divided up among the coaches. We had a few practices, played some games and had fun. This past year my 10 year old daughter wanted to play a sport, so I signed her up for the local league and got an email saying a coach was not available. I found out the teams were already formed from years past and most kids part playing when they are 4 or 5. The kids are practicing at least 3 times per week and travel all over the place for tournaments on the weekends. My daughter is light years behind and will not catch up. The pressure on kids with sports and the time involvement is out of control. Also, the kids are specializing in one sport and playing the one sport all year around.

This leads to the football discussion with kids specializing in one sport, there are less in all the sports in general because they are no cross pollinating.

BoulderSooner
08-26-2018, 07:26 PM
an old rumor is that when OU was redoing Owen field that Boren made sure the field of play including the sidelines were big enough for soccer as well in case football went away and soccer became the premier sport. Not sure if this is true

Not true

Urbanized
08-26-2018, 08:23 PM
^^^^^^^^^^^
To back this up: the last time there were field-level changes they actually made the sidelines (a tiny bit) closer together by adding a brick veneer to the existing concrete walls that had been there for decades.

The only way the field could be converted to a regulation soccer pitch would be demolishing a number of rows of the grandstand and filling it in with dirt. Yeats ago the field WAS large enough and included a track around it (as in for track and field events). But in 1948 they dug the field deeper so that they could extend the grandstand down to it and pick up more rows of seating.

http://image.cdnllnwnl.xosnetwork.com/fls/31000/old_site/images/7468411.jpeg

Uptowner
08-27-2018, 02:12 AM
Cte currently has no proven link to football. And no proven link of what causes cte and what cte causes

This sounds an awful lot like the what the people who made money off cigarettes and the people who loved to smoke them used to say. How did that turn out again?

PaddyShack
08-27-2018, 09:10 AM
^^^^^^^^^^^
To back this up: the last time there were field-level changes they actually made the sidelines (a tiny bit) closer together by adding a brick veneer to the existing concrete walls that had been there for decades.

The only way the field could be converted to a regulation soccer pitch would be demolishing a number of rows of the grandstand and filling it in with dirt. Yeats ago the field WAS large enough and included a track around it (as in for track and field events). But in 1948 they dug the field deeper so that they could extend the grandstand down to it and pick up more rows of seating.

http://image.cdnllnwnl.xosnetwork.com/fls/31000/old_site/images/7468411.jpeg

I love seeing these old photos of our universities. It is really something to compare the then and now.

Johnb911
08-27-2018, 10:11 AM
I know I know I know, it's preseason, but the NFL has been very difficult to watch so far this year, with the rule changes. I have found my taste for Sunday afternoon football has waned considerably over the last 5 years or so. I am admittedly a big soccer fan, and I think that's had an influence on my enjoyment of the NFL. I will still watch all the college football you can give me.

I would like to see what kind of changes we are seeing in youth soccer participation. Those numbers have always been high, but then most stop playing after elementary school. Now that a domestic league has been around for 20+ years, European games are available on TV every weekend, top international stars are recognizable in name and image, and the lower levels of the pyramid are filling out, exposing more people to readily available professional soccer, do kids realistically see soccer as a potential career? Someone upthread made the comment that many people see football as the only way out of their current demographic (sorry if I misunderstood, I'm paraphrasing). I wonder if that opinion is changing. I remember quite vividly as a 10 year old in 1994 playing with my neighbors. I wanted to play soccer. They wanted to play basketball. My older neighbor said 'would you rather practice basketball where you could make millions or soccer where you can make nothing? You can't make money playing soccer.' At the time, I had no idea that there were people all over the world making nice incomes playing soccer, and thus I thought it was a good argument.

PaddyShack
08-27-2018, 10:26 AM
I know I know I know, it's preseason, but the NFL has been very difficult to watch so far this year, with the rule changes. I have found my taste for Sunday afternoon football has waned considerably over the last 5 years or so. I am admittedly a big soccer fan, and I think that's had an influence on my enjoyment of the NFL. I will still watch all the college football you can give me.

I would like to see what kind of changes we are seeing in youth soccer participation. Those numbers have always been high, but then most stop playing after elementary school. Now that a domestic league has been around for 20+ years, European games are available on TV every weekend, top international stars are recognizable in name and image, and the lower levels of the pyramid are filling out, exposing more people to readily available professional soccer, do kids realistically see soccer as a potential career? Someone upthread made the comment that many people see football as the only way out of their current demographic (sorry if I misunderstood, I'm paraphrasing). I wonder if that opinion is changing. I remember quite vividly as a 10 year old in 1994 playing with my neighbors. I wanted to play soccer. They wanted to play basketball. My older neighbor said 'would you rather practice basketball where you could make millions or soccer where you can make nothing? You can't make money playing soccer.' At the time, I had no idea that there were people all over the world making nice incomes playing soccer, and thus I thought it was a good argument.

I would think professional soccer players can make way more since the sport is well commercialized world-wide. Think about Ronaldo and his CR7 brand, or Messi or Beckham! Ronaldo came from nothing in the poorest places in Portugal to become one of if not the most recognized name in soccer. It is true that pro-soccer in the US doesn't see the same level of incomes as NFL, but if we got our US kids playing the sport and we can export them to leagues around the world they will make great incomes and then be great for the US during the World Cup and Olympics, which both add substantial amounts to income for players.

Thomas Vu
08-27-2018, 11:42 AM
Not to mention there's no salary cap in soccer at the highest levels.

jedicurt
08-27-2018, 11:47 AM
so wait... football participation hits an all time high, then starts to see a slide down... and it's now the end of football is near? this whole thread is just a gross overreaction. yes. some school that were already not properly funded may have to get rid of the football program. most were already under funded. and so for them it's probably a blessing in disguise. those players that are really good and great in high school, now pick the high schools they want to go to so they can showcase their talents for universities. so it's not surprising that some smaller schools are going to lose their teams due to not enough participation. blame it more on open enrollment options, not on the popularity of football /EndOfRant

Swake
08-27-2018, 08:44 PM
My son is a senior in high School and is part of the statistic. He started playing football in 4th grade and absolutely loved it and in 7th he started lacrosse as an off season sport.

After a concussion in practice in 9th grade he decided to do lacrosse full time. At his school the number of football players is down by 20-25% over the last 5-6 years. Five years ago his high school had maybe 4 or 5 lacrosse players on a club team. Now it's a high school sport with 50+ players and that's happened at the expense of football and it's often about concussions.

Teo9969
08-27-2018, 10:49 PM
^^^^^^^^^^^
To back this up: the last time there were field-level changes they actually made the sidelines (a tiny bit) closer together by adding a brick veneer to the existing concrete walls that had been there for decades.

The only way the field could be converted to a regulation soccer pitch would be demolishing a number of rows of the grandstand and filling it in with dirt. Yeats ago the field WAS large enough and included a track around it (as in for track and field events). But in 1948 they dug the field deeper so that they could extend the grandstand down to it and pick up more rows of seating.

http://image.cdnllnwnl.xosnetwork.com/fls/31000/old_site/images/7468411.jpeg

Yeah...that brick wall in football is sometimes uncomfortably close on some plays.

dankrutka
08-30-2018, 02:13 PM
New York Times article from an OU student titled, "Should I Still Root for My College Football Team?": https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/28/smarter-living/the-edit-college-football.html