California Sees Drop In High School Football Players Amid Concussion Concerns

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) —While the number of students playing high school sports in California is at an all-time high, football teams are seeing a drop in the number of players, according to the California Interscholastic Federation.

The CIF says more parents are becoming aware of the effects of concussions, including brain damage and memory loss.

Coaches across the Sacramento region are required to be certified in concussion training, but despite protections, some parents are sweeping their children into less-dangerous sports.

“I think the level of play can be too intense,” said Debbie Corbett.

Corbett used to be a football mom; her two sons grew up playing the high-contact sport. She says it’s a decision she now regrets.

“I wouldn’t do it again,” she said.

Corbett isn’t alone. Parents across the state are pulling their children out of their school football teams. The CIF says that’s been the trend for the last few years.

“Football is a violent game, we know that, it’s a very aggressive game,” said commissioner Michael Garrison.

According to a recent census report by the CIF, football participation across the state dropped by just over 3 percent.

“We’ve had a couple schools over the last couple of years that say our numbers are really low,” said Garrison.

Garrison says the recent decline in student football players has to do with parents being more educated about the effects of having a concussion.

“It’s not the old adage ‘I just got my bell rung, I’ll be OK in a couple of minutes,’ it’s like no, we understand the science behind that,” Garrison added.

High schools around the region have been mandated by the CIF to allow no contact between student athletes during football practice, to minimize concussions.

“In every sport, there’s an issue, I believe football is the safest, they have the most equipment to protect them,” said football mom Erin Saldivar.

Saldivar isn’t too concerned about her two sons playing football. She says it’s all about how the coaches train their players and how well their equipment fits, that makes all the difference.

“If you wanna look for negatives you’ll find them; if you wanna look for positives you’ll find them,” Saldivar concluded.

Numbers for this year aren’t out yet; the CIF will determine whether participation rates dipped even lower in the next few weeks.

More from Angela Musallam
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