Look for anecdotal proof about football’s declining participation numbers? Look no further than Los Angeles, where a whopping four schools were forced to forfeit scheduled games in one week because of a lack of players brought on by injury and apathy.
As noted by the Los Angeles Times, Locke High became the fourth L.A. football team to official forfeit in the span of one week due to a lack of healthy players. According to the Times, Locke only made the final decision on Friday, hours before its scheduled kick off against Los Angeles High when it joined three other city schools forced to drop their next contests.
The other three forfeiting programs are L.A. Jordan, Animo South Los Angeles and Peninsula High Schools. That’s roughly a 7.7 percent total of the city’s football programs that effectively raised the white flag on their season, calling off games because of a lack of players,
It’s a scary thought, and one that could very well become a trend as the rising injury tide scares off some would-be players and their parents. It also underscores the broader national trends about declining football participation, and it does so in a very visible way. Is this one very rough week for football programs in L.A.? Perhaps, or perhaps it’s just the latest larger indicator that the warning signs that have been called up by experts in the past couple years are coming home to roost earlier than was expected.