Number of Participants in High School Sports Drops by 320K After Pandemic Lockdowns

Football Participation
The Associated Press

The numbers are in for high school sports participation, and on the tail of years of pandemic lockdowns and school closings, the number shows that almost 320,000 fewer kids came back to sports in the past season. It is about a four percent drop over previous years.

Indeed, nearly every sport that the National Federation of State High School Associations tracked in its 2021-2022 school year survey lost participants except for two.

Only boys’ golf and girls’ volleyball had a bounce in numbers. All other sports were down compared to the 2018-2019 year, the last pre-pandemic school season.

The NFHS survey found that in 2018-2019, schools registered 7,937,491 kids in school sports. But by the end of the 2021-2022 season, that number had dropped to 7,618,054 participants, a loss of 319,437 kids.

All the top ten boys sports, but golf saw a loss of anywhere from 3 percent to as much as 14 percent down over the last pre-pandemic year. Football was down 3.2 percent, basketball 3.5 percent, wrestling down 6.3 percent, and cross country down the most at 14.1 percent fewer participants. Golf, though, was up 3.8 percent.


Girls’ sports saw even worse declines. Only volleyball was up slightly (plus .3 percent) while all sports were down between 3 percent and 13 percent. Track and field lost 6.5 percent, soccer was off 4.9 percent, and cross country and swimming were both down over 12 percent.


So, it appears that the pandemic chased many children out of sports all up and down the line except for golf and volleyball.

One other interesting aspect of the survey was the state rankings. Texas moved into the number one spot with the most kids in sports sending California to number two. This is not surprising considering how many people have moved to Texas because it is a thriving, vital state.

Granted, California, being one of the most populated states in the country, is going to rank high no matter what at this point still. But the survey found that California has lost an astounding 60,000 kids from its school sports programs since 2019. That loss is not solely a result of the pandemic. It is mirrored in the vast amount of people who have fled California and left the Democrat-infested failure for greener pastures in other states.

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