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More girls playing high school football, overall participation increases

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations , the total number of athletes taking part in 11-player football in 2015-16 increased by 80 to 1,085,272. The increase can be attributed to more girls participating. This past year, a record 1,964 played football, which was up from 1,565 the year before.

Thirty-two states had girls participating in football. California had the most with 333 followed by Ohio (245), Texas (178), Arizona (115) and Colorado (109).

There were 24 states that reported increased boys participation. From 2013 to 2014, there was a decline of nearly 10,000 boys who played football.

NFHS Executive Director Bob Gardner said he was encouraged over the slight increase and credited the adoption of state laws and protocols for concussion management.

Flag football is booming, with an 18 percent increase to 12,093. The sport has been extremely popular with girls but there were 69 schools that had offered the sport to boys last year, which was more than double the 32 one year earlier.

Overall participation in high school sports reached an all-time high of 7,868,900, an increase of 61,853 from the previous year.

Girls participation increased for the 27th straight year and set an all-time high of 3,324,326.

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