ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Friday night lights at high schools across our state may be starting to dim as teams are struggling to find athletes.
New Mexico Activities Association tells News 13 that there has been a steady decrease in participation each year since 2014.
Just this June, McCurdy Charter School in Espanola canceled its season after half the players were declared academically ineligible.
Questa High School also won’t have a team this year due to lack of players.
While the NMAA could not say what the exact reason is for the drop-off, parents said they have an idea.
“My most major thing is the injuries and stuff like that,” parent Talena Romero said “I had a cousin playing for the Cardinals out in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and he had got a lot of injuries to his head and stuff. Later on in life, he got brain cancer and passed away.”
In five years, there are around 700 less kids playing high school football.
The NMAA figures show all high school sports are down, but football is the highest decrease at 29 percent less over the last five years.
While participation in football is decreasing at high schools statewide, the New Mexico Flag Football League reports a 30 percent increase in participation in just the past year.
“The main thing that it comes down to often is the head injuries,” “Parents are scared of concussions and scared of their child getting hit in the head, and they are going to flag football instead of tackle for that reason.”
While some say the decrease in traditional football is due to injuries, others believe it is because of children having more extracurricular options.
The NMAA says 11 or the 113 schools expected to play football this year will do so as independents, meaning they can not play in district or the playoffs.
Surely this can't only be in New Mexico.......it HAS to be a national trend, I would think. I wonder about Texas. Where are Mr Pitch and Charliedog when you need them? Just wouldn't make any sense if it were only in NM.
Last Edit: Aug 6, 2019 3:42:39 GMT -7 by crispysdad
There is a lot of speculation that this will be the last season of football at Highland, a school with a great football past. On a positive note Albuquerque High has the most people out for football in a long time.
I wonder if Goddard will have low numbers maybe next season since the Goddard player got injured and flown to Lubbock?
That was a scary accident for that young man he's still on a long road to recovery.
I remember first starting out in football we would read the warning label on the football helmet every day, coaches always preaching to us tackle properly keep your head/neck up, Accidents still happen and there is no guarantees however even with proper technique.
For Goddard, just my opinion, they always seems to be on lower end of number of players, but they always have a tough mindset and one of the most physical teams year in and out, I don't think this accident would have any effect on them in that regard, the typical goddard football player is most likely not timid is what I guess I'm saying, this wouldn't scare them away from the game.
No talk of any trouble of any west Texas school that I know of, other than those that always struggle because their overall enrollment is down. We have 150ish out in Andrews,9-12. The Texas High School Coaches Association, which numbers 21,000 plus membership is very proactive.
That cbs article makes a lot of sense to me, and I never really thought of it like that either.
This represents a massive shift within a single generation, Farrey said. In earlier decades, children played in local team sports, rarely traveling outside their local areas for games.
But that's changed, he said, partly due to the pressure from college-minded families to help their children earn athletic scholarships and admission to elite colleges. To make sure their children stand out, they are opening up their wallets for lessons, camps, expensive club teams that travel for tournaments and more.