Southern Maryland Online is reporting that the state's high schools experienced a 3.5 percent drop ("nearly" 500 students) in football participation in the 2011-2012 season, "the largest decline the state has seen in seven years, and the third drop in four years."
From Southern Maryland Online:
Athletics officials said growing parental concerns about safety in football could explain part of the drop.
According to the article Arizona experienced a 39 percent drop (7,800) in participation in 2011, while "Ohio has lost approximately 16 percent of its players in the last four years, and Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota have all experienced four straight years of decline."
Again, from the article:
“We aren’t drawing the line at concussions,” said Bob Colgate, the director of sports and sports medicine at the National Federation of State High School Associations. “There are many factors our states are looking at, like consolidation between schools.”
“You can hypothesize on many things,” said Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association. “People not being able to afford the pay to play system because of the economy. Are students playing other sports? We’re offering more sports than ever, so that could be a factor.”