My high school football team just cancelled varsity football because of low participation.

Bland County high school just cancelled their varsity season because of low turn out. I've seen reports of 8 kids and I've seen reports of 12. It's always to be expected in a small county to have a numbers problem when it comes to a sport where you need numbers to participate. My heart is broken. Seems like a few short years ago I was playing on a team that went to the playoffs and at one point had the best defense in the state for single A football which I was a part of. Is this the new norm or has anyone else heard reports of having a numbers problem.

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I've been forecasting that something similar to this would happen. If I'm a parent in the future, I don't know if I'd let my kids play. I'm okay with contact sports. Basketball, lacrosse, soccer, hell, even hockey and rugby. Football is in its own category in my opinion as a destructive sport. I do not say that to demean football, I love watching and supporting it. I just don't see many other sports where launching your head at an opponents head intentionally happens with surprising frequency despite being illegal.

Unless football can get CTE and concussions under control, it will see a huge reduction in the future. The university I work at now passed on having a football team and that was in part due to health and safety concerns for future athletes.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

I don't know how much of it is due to health and safety concerns or just the general population loss of southwest Virginia. My sister works for VT and did some research a few years back and, on average, counties in southwest Virginia are losing 1% of their population EVERY year. And personal experience with family back there, the population losses are primarily in the younger generations. There just isn't any job prospects and anybody with any means is just up and leaving the area. It isn't showing any sign of slowing down either.

EDIT:
Found an article that has some real numbers that demonstrate the population loss. It is a little less than I remember my sister telling me but not far off.
Article

EDIT2:
I found another article that shows some graphics that visualizes the population loss going back to 2000.
Article

This is really interesting. 1% every year is crazy population attrition. Thanks for the information.

@hokie_rd

The Transfer Portal expanded its feeding ground beyond VT

Live look at Transfer Portal.

@hokie_rd

If it's 1% every year, then it's accelerating rather than just not slowing down. You need to lose more people every year to maintain the same percentage.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

I think it was 1% year over year not the original 1% number. Either way, SWVA is experiencing significant population losses that I don't ever see recovering. Between the younger populations leaving and deaths due to old age and the opioid crisis, rural areas of SWVA are on a death spiral.

I don't know that we're on a death spiral but we are experiencing population loss. This is largely due to the ever decreasing fossil fuel based economy. Once we can come to terms with that and blaze a sustainable path for the future I think you will see a stabilization and possibly a resurgence of sorts.

That is the problem I see with the area. I don't believe as a whole the area will come to terms with that before it is far too late. Too many people in that area see northern Virginia and Richmond as the "enemies". Until they can get out of that "us-versus-them" mentality, I don't see things changing.

I think people from northern VA kinda look down on people that aren't from there either. When I went to Radford in 99, it was like a whole different world talking to some of them..then again some of my best friends and family live in that area. I love my state and it will always be home but from about west of Charlottesville, it's like a totally different state.

I don't know if it was looking down as much as a lot didn't realize everywhere isn't NoVa. I never felt i grew up poor until the first year I moved to up here. I would see the houses my friends grew up in and the middle class houses here can be massive because they moved up with the market. But the amount of money amd stupidity in Northern Va is still amazing to me 15 years later. My wife is from here and she still says things that I have to remind here where I came from, it's not looking down on my up bringing, it's her nativity when it comes from growing up in a completely different world than I did.

I don't live in Nova but I've dated my share of women from there, and this is completely accurate.

edit: this wasn't and continues to not be downvote-worthy, whoever you are

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MV7, MV5, LT3, Josh Jackson, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

You can say that about most people who grew up surrounded by others who were at minimum still solidly middle class. They don't realize that not everyone had equal access and opportunities to the things they did during their lives simply because where you are born/grew up plays such a huge factor into it.

I mean the terms are already here and we're doing what we can. All is not lost there's some good market sectors to try and exploit. And I'm not so sure we look down on NOVA as much as they look down on us. If the state wants to invest in something down here I'm pretty sure we'd be hard pressed to turn it away. In the meantime it takes hard work good leadership and some collaborative thinking. I'm more positive as a whole than I was a few years back.

I grew up in Bluefield and live in northern Virginia now so I have seen both sides. I grew up around and know people who viscerally resent NoVa and Richmond. I have seen some NoVa folks look down on the rural areas but for the most part, nobody cares about southwest Virginia. It just isn't big enough to be concerned about and it doesn't have the money to buy influence.

I don't see what good market sectors there are to exploit there. Mining resources are too automated these days to make a difference. I see a lot of people suggest tourism and outdoorsmanship but what unique enough about southwest Virginia to bring in the numbers necessary to build an economy on? There are a lot of areas that are competing for those dollars and I just can't see that being enough. Technology, remote workers? How is that supposed to work? The technology infrastructure is not great in the area. Tech workers today mostly want to go to urban areas. Say you can convince them to come, how are you going to improve the infrastructure to make it viable? Who is going to pay for the tech upgrades? The telecommunications companies are not going to build it because the population density is not high enough to make it commercially viable. I have seen people put their hope on 5G cell coverage but I am extremely skeptical that will happen because the high data rate bands are the 24–86 GHz bands which are line-of-site only. Frequencies that high are blocked by trees much less the walls of building or mountains. These bands will mainly be usefully in nano-scale cell towers which will again only be commercially viable in high population centers.

I really want to be wrong here since southwest Virginia is were I grew up but having lived outside the area now for about half my life, I can not see any way to turn around the area's situation. I personally believe it is going to take a complete culture change and those are not predictable. Historically in these secluded areas, your extended family unit was how you survived. It takes a village and all that. It worked well in the past but now hurts the area. It is going to take external support and resources to reform the area. But that is essentially telling people that they have to change how they live and given how self-reliant, self-sufficient, and proud these people are, it does not and will not go over well. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this and I can't see any way things change in my lifetime. If it proves me wrong I will be the happiest person in the world but I don't see it.

To me the way to bring money into the area and jobs is one thing that I don't see happening, pot. The mountain areas of VA and WV have a great climate for growing weed. If VA made it legal then I81s main purpose would be for shipping pot from swva to nova. If VA would get in early enough and set up good quality crops then it might have a chance when federal laws change and VA pot takes over a lot of the east coast.

The church crowds in the area would be having none of that. I think that would be a great idea but I can't see that happening in the next 30-50 years.

No.

There is nothing in the world like Thursday night in Blacksburg!

Seeing it already in south-central VA with people re-purposing their tobacco farms in favor of hemp

Hemp, I can agree with. Pot I can't.

There is nothing in the world like Thursday night in Blacksburg!

It's no better or worse than alcohol. VA should try and get ahead of the curve of what is going to be a national legalization movement in the next 8-10 years.

Probably should kill off this subthread. The topic never ends ina way that's going to comply with the guidelines.

I grew up in Wise County and still reside there, and run a fairly successful business that is currently expanding. It may not be the norm, but there are opportunities. Though we are rural, we have excellent access to roads and transportation hubs, as US23, 58, and I-81 run right through here. Most of the area is within 1.5 hr drive of the third largest metropolitan area in the state of Tennessee, and there are a lot of ancillary services that can serve the large industrial and healthcare sectors in that area. We have a ton of land to utilize for housing, industry, R&D, etc. While fossil fuel use has fallen off the map, there are still coal and gas reserves to utilize if needed. With the topography and access we have great potential for sustainable energy investments such as solar and wind. We are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful areas of the world and have a lot of access to recreational resources. We have a lot of wide open spaces that can act as a blank canvas for a number of opportunities. None of these are magic bullets, but I think we can stave off a death spiral to keep this area from becoming a ghost town. And if it does it may not be a bad area to retire and yell at clouds.

As to the drug use, it is a problem. The vast majority is fed by not only the lack of easy access to current jobs, but the recent decline of the coal industry and resulting displacement of workers. We have a lot of people with currently little other opportunities that worked in a labor intensive sector that have turned to substance abuse as a means of coping. It is obvious to me that there is a real problem with the number of opiods prescribed by doctors in our region. I think we can make some headway if we can work on the supply side as well as provide people opportunity and help to cope with their issues. I don't think this region has an inherent problem as a subset of the population, as the poverty we experience and the associated issues are fairly consistent with issues seen in other areas of the country with similar circumstances. We may not have hit the bottom of the well of the issue, but to base the merits of this region on the current snapshot of affairs is a bit shortsighted.

And as to NOVA and Richmond, I can speak for the vast number of individuals I know and state that there is no ill will at all. I'm not sure I relate as well to someone in Alexandria as I do with someone from Bluefield, but that's simply due to our similar experiences living in a rural community. As I said before, if Richmond wants to invest in this region I'm all for it, and collaborating with local leaders and incorporating what we have to offer into the states operations will be a key factor for moving forward. I don't think we want to succeed from the union and don't think we cold survive if we did. Perseverance, intellect, and innovation may offer a path to prosperity, and until proven otherwise I think the glass if half full. I've been all over this country and this earth and there's only one place I'll call home, and I think my reasons are as good as anyone's.

Another Wise County alum! Which high school did you go to?

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

I'm a Viking, or at least used to be.

You guys hd some really good teams back in the late 80's & early 90's. Kelly won the state championship in 82 I think, which was after my high school days. But I got to see it, because the game was at Lane while I was in college. Did you play?

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

but for the most part, nobody cares about southwest Virginia. It just isn't big enough to be concerned about and it doesn't have the money to buy influence.

This is dead on. And it isn't just in state and local politics. Hell, just last night my wife and I were watching the Virginia episode of Aerial America on the Smithsonian Channel. They showed all kinds of things in the tidewater, then hit Richmond, Petersburg, Appomattox Court House, Charlottesville, Shenandoah NP, Lexington, MOTHERFUCKING FOAM HENGE, and then skipped over everything from Lexington to Cumberland Gap, showed Cumberland Gap, Bristol, and finished up with things around NOVA.

Again, they showed motherfucking Foam Henge, but absolutely nothing from Lexington to Cumberland Gap. Not VT, not the NRV, not Burkes Garden, not Mt. Rogers, not the Highlands...NOTHING.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

😢

Throw that Bob Marley wannabe motherfucker outta here. Maynard James Keenan. 1991

I'm from SWVA and I'll probably never move back. But... People who can't afford or don't want to live in a major metro area will have to live somewhere... remote work should help but only if the infrastructure supports it. Makers, artists, and people whose livelihoods have space requirements are also being priced out of cities. All is not lost. But in order to get people with children to move there from bigger population centers, I think the school systems will have to take major leaps forward.

Um, you may want to check your math.

1% of 10,000 is 100.
1% of 9,900 is 99.
1% of 9,801 is about 98.

I'd bet the thought was that 1% of 10,000 is 100, but to lose another 100 the next year from the 9900 remaining would be 1.01%, then another 100 from the remaining 9800 is 1.02%, etc for accelerating loss

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

If that was the case he should have said this instead:

You need to lose more people percentage every year to maintain the same percentage people

Get used to it. Even urban areas are struggling as well.

And, while the concussion story is a major factor, don't forget kids now a days play 1 sport year round, cost of youth sports has skyrocketed, and there's even personal trainers for developing high schoolers.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

I think it is going to take a while for rule changes, shift to less contact practices, and increased focus on rugby style tackling to reverse the trend of not wanting your kid to play. I really hope it does because it feels like the player attrition is not slowing anytime soon, maybe it never does.

@hokie_rd

Like I said... in 10 years, football won't be nearly as popular as it is now. So nobody will care that VT has the 47th best class on 247.

This is great news for recruiting, no?

It's also not too late to start the first ACC eSports program.

Georgia Tech already has a championship-winning esports program (though not NCAA of course).

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

It's also not too late to start the first ACC eSports program.

I'm going to assume this is tongue in cheek, but I will always say that this is a smart move. Especially with population dynamics, eSports will become much bigger business and the farther ahead we get on it, the better.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

It's gotten much bigger in the past couple years than in 2010, especially with online streaming seeing top players in their respective games and major tournaments being shown such as League Championship Series (LCS), EVO (Fighting games like Smash Bros., Mortal Kombat, and Street Fighter), and Overwatch League (OWL) starting last year where cities have their own teams (next year will be the start of games in different cities than just LA).
Harrisburg University just won their collegiate championship in Overwatch just a few months ago having a coach that is a retired player for Philly in OWL last year. It will get bigger in the future and I don't see it slowing down soon.

"Oi! What's a Horkie"
"I am ya Grot!"

"Horkies were made for two fings foighten' and winnen'" - Horkie Warboss

"That Gritty git doesn't exactly look like a Horkie, but by Gork and Mork it acts like one!"-Random Horkie Boy

It's actually not TIC... if it's good enough for Mark Cuban to put a sizable chunk of his resources into... VT may want to give it a gander.

this is why people worry about the long term sustainability of football in the US, at least as an incredibly popular sport. The erosion at the youth level is going to inevitably cause an erosion of quality on the field. Won't happen overnight, but there will be a time when we look back and wonder why it just isn't as popular anymore as it was in the past.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

At least on the NFL's level, the circus off the field (and game length) is diminishing my enjoyment of the on-field product already, and the talent pool is still rich.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Not 100% sure about this but it seems like George Mason HS in Falls Church did not field a football team last year, it was either them or Manassas Park HS.

uva - the taint of the ACC
XL Jockstraps 34 - Ascots 31
#15 Straight

I remember in the 90's that the Craig County HS varsity team played Iron Man football to keep participating. Offense and Defense. Those were conditioned young men.

... and the 80's.

August 2-a-days wearing gear with 5 plus years of accumulated stank, drinking water from an old pvc pipe with holes drilled in it so everyone could drink at the same time.

Somebody wants shade? Wind sprints for everyone!

Facilities shmacilities.

I played in the 90's and we used a pvc pipe for drinking too.

That and mini camp. The week before school started, 5 days of practice from 8am to 5pm in the August heat. Those turned boys into men.

There is nothing in the world like Thursday night in Blacksburg!

and we used a pvc pipe for drinking too.

Probably the same pipe.

Those turned boys into men.

Those, and old spit.

From all those that dressed out before the next generation...

The big concern to me, now I'll admit I'm for high school football as far as the argument goes. There are so many aspects that I gained from playing as far as team work and other aspects go that it's a huge detriment to the population. I'm not saying it can't come from other sports or anything like that but it's special at least to me. I can name you everyone I started with on every year and I can describe to you everything I went through with my brothers and what he means to me.I understand the argument for safety but injuries happen in all sports. I could have just had easily been swinging at a pitch as I was making a tackle when I busted up my shoulder or broke 4 bones in my hand, that happened.. I'm also not saying the youth can't learn those attributes in other sports either, but the perspective I get is there is going to be a portion of the populous is going to lose out in the long run. I'm open to all arguments but the lessons learned in my time playing football stand out more to me than any other sport.

I can name you everyone I started with on every year and I can describe to you everything I went through with my brothers and what he means to me.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

Which year do you want me to start? Fresh to senior, left to right or right to left? Safety to d-line or vice versa?

The biggest concern with football, at least at the professional level is the lack of insurance. As of the 2019 season there is only 1 remaining insurance agency that is willing to provide workers comp insurance for NFL players. If football dies, it's not the CTE that does it, it's the money.

Money plays the biggest factor at the lower levels as well. The current helmet tested by VT that receives top marks against concussions is over $120 each. Pop Warner leagues usually can only afford around $80 per helmet.

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

The one argument I have with the CTE and concussion fight is if every player is taught how to tackle or I guess I should say hit, is if it's done by the text book is the risk is extremely low. Now, It is a collision sport and will never be anything but that. Proper technique and all goes out the window if you have someone who is trying to create a highlight film but at its core is safe. You could just as easily get a concussion going for a rebound in basketball as you could standing in a batters box and a pitch gets lose from a pitcher or trying to stop a free kick on a hand ball in soccer. I've played them all and honestly baseball put more damage on my body as any of them.

The thing about CTE is you can tackle safely all you like, but unless the other team is doing it too, you're still at risk.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

Not trying to be a jerk, but I can't find any data that back up your assertions. If you want to check out what the field of injury biomechanics is looking at I've linked some stuff below:

1) The cause of concussion at the NFL level is approximately evenly split between being tackled and tackling, followed by an approximately even split between blocking and getting blocked. If it is evenly split between the player giving and receiving the blow, then it is likely not a function of tackling technique (Source: NFL). Furthermore, Helmet-to-Helmet collisions account for less than 1/3 of the concussions in the NFL (Source: NFL)

2) Statistically, you are 14.1x more likely to sustain a concussion in a HS football game than in HS basketball game. You are 19.4x more likely to sustain a concussion in a HS football game than in a HS baseball game. (Source: Journal of Athletic Training)

3) Anecdotally you may have taken more damage playing baseball than playing football, but nationally for the 2017-18 school year, HS Football players sustained 4.33 injuries per 1,000 athlete exposures (read games + practices). Comparitively, boys baseball players sustained 0.95 injuries per 1,000 athlete exposures (Source: UC Denver)

I think the issue is that players want to be insured for millions instead of just a livable wage

Recruit Prosim

IIRC when the Revo Speed came out while I was in HS cost was somewhere around $2-300 helmet so we only bought 8 and left the rest with the concussion magnet that was the Schutt DNA

With how tight budgeting has been in Bland county, this is probably not such a bad thing for the schools. It sucks for the kids, and for the other schools now scrambling to schedule opponents. But, that's a fairly healthy financial load off of a county that doesn't have an enormous tax base.

95% of the county's land is used for agriculture or conservation/recreation. 1/3 of the land in the county is National Forest.
9.3% of the county's "population" resides in Bland Correctional Center.

I know there are more reasons than money at play here, but the schools need to do the most with what they have. Funding a football team isn't a priority in my book.

Hey now that's job security for me let's not bring that into play. But in all seriousness football if I'm not mistaken and I very well may be, was the only money making sport for the county. My other concern is from what I've heard and I'll be the first to admit I have zero idea how the school/sport system works is if a school has to cancel a sport they have to wait 3 years to reapply for a team. I know there's a large group of kids who play coming up who may not get the chance to play or be limited if that is the case.

I hate to say it, but I suspect this problem may be long-lasting. I live in Wythe County and Bland County plays rec league with us. At my kid's age group last year (3rd-4th graders), Bland County had barely enough players to field a 9-on-9 team. They had to play short-handed against my kid's team because 1 kid couldn't make it and another decided that he wanted to quit the team during pre-game. I think they only had 9 on the roster. The 5th-6th grade team didn't look much better, numbers-wise. There aren't a whole lot of kids coming up through the feeder system at this point in time. From the looks of the elementary- and middle-school teams, I don't foresee a steady stream of interested and eligible kids in the foreseeable future for Bland County.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

9.3% of the county's "population" resides in Bland Correctional Center.

Some people see problems.

Visionaries see solutions.

I played rugby, football, and MMA at different parts of my life and was involved in contact sports from 5 untill 22. Contact and conflict was my life and I loved it.

Now I'm 30 years old and I have digenerative disk disease. My neck is ruined. I get headaches from all my concussions. My brain is fucked and I know it. I have a six year old boy and I would've been the last person on Earth to say this but because of what I'm going through I'm going to keep him out of football. I just don't think the risk is worth it. He can simply play other sports and do other activities. God forbid he end up like me.

I will probably do the same. I've probably gotten at least 6 actual concussions from playing football that I recognized because of altered vision like seeing stars, or tints of green, or even just blacking out. I still have my intelligence but there's certainly some fog that I've never been able to shake. I love football but I don't think I could encourage my (future) child to play.

Recruit Prosim

I understand completely. Between combat sports and football alone I cannot count the actual concussions. I've been knocked out cold at least 6 times. Concussions are in the double digits easily.

I think about some of those knockouts as a kid and the headaches for days and even weeks afterwards and it freaks me out to think what that's done to my brain.

I've played rugby and football. My opinion is that football has no saving grace on this subject. I was running back and I feel like I was gonna get rocked just did to the physics. Rugby is only different because without pads you have to tackle differently or you won't survive. But I played and you are still doing damage.

I'm not saying anything should be done or that I care what other people do. Im saying all of this to justify why ive decided, as a parent, to be cautious on this subject and to try to preserve my son's brain based on what information I have.

This probably won't be popular but I think its worth mentioning and kinda goes along with your experience. I think genetics also plays a part. Some people have more physical tolerance to the wear and tear. I loved football and would play it 24/7 if I could, however my knees and joints said otherwise. No matter what exercise or conditioning I did, it did not help. Bad joints run in my family so my football dreams ended with that.
Not trying to knock on anybody, just saying that it could be something that plays into the equation.

uva - the taint of the ACC
XL Jockstraps 34 - Ascots 31
#15 Straight

If I had to guess, the arthritis in my vertebrae is hereditary and the injuries merely sped it up. It's hard to know about the disks. I'd say there is perhaps a hereditary component there as well but I'd say I probably would have had a minimum of a couple more decades before it manifested if I had not done all the stuff I did to my neck.

That's all a gut feeling of course after talking to doctors and looking at multiple MRI's. For those people like me who perhaps have a predisposition to these sorts of conditions, they may want to think a little harder about those sports versus someone who doesn't have those things in the family tree.

When I was growing up I thought I was invincible. At 30 I'm feeling all of it haha. I think maybe they could limit tackle football to high School in the future and run flag up until that point and hopefully equipment evolves to add protection. Or maybe that's a dumb idea, I don't know.

I think maybe they could limit tackle football to high School in the future and run flag up until that point and hopefully equipment evolves to add protection. Or maybe that's a dumb idea, I don't know.

This is a great idea and I've said the same thing. I didn't play football until 9th grade and I'm thinking that things may have turned out different if I started earlier but hearing these stories..i have no regrets..

If you really want to make it safer, you have it backwards. Youth football is not very violent at all.

The first rule of Fight Club is we don't talk about turkey leg votes

I hear you but I played youth football. I was running back and I was knocked out cold twice. I was slightly undersized so bigger lineman and linebackers made helmet to helmet contact on multiple occasions that caused a concussion. I was even transported to the hospital after one of those collisions at 8 years old. Here is the kicker, with headaches still, the very next day I was running full contact at practice and received a hit from a kid twice my size and I didn't even know my own name.

You have you opinion and I have mine, but it's my belief that tackle football is not good for a young developing brain even though the mass and speeds are reduced at that age.

My point is that you give the brains time to develope and you spend as many years teaching tackling techniques as possible before they are actually doing it. The longer you delay that level of contact, the better, in my opinion.

I get both sides. Frankly, you should never have been on the field next day regardless of age. I have seen kids start from age 5 up (they are basically bubble wrapped at that age), and those kids have much better technique and body control after years of playing than a kid starting out at high school level, and being exposed to much more violent collisions.

On the opposite side, really young kids playing soccer, baseball, and basketball are head to head collisions waiting to happen.

I will continue to support youth football. I am not against flag football either, but it does seem to favor the skill positions more so than the linemen type.

The first rule of Fight Club is we don't talk about turkey leg votes

I followed youth football as a part of my PhD, studying concussion and head impact magnitude at the youth level. Every year I saw at least one kid spine boarded and taken for a ride in an ambulance. I also got to see a kid take a helicopter ride. I was at the football field for about 16 games per year.

My youth teams did "bull in the ring" drills in every single practice and kids were absolutely encouraged to go full speed and make the loudest contact possible, which often meant helmet to helmet contact. I definitely remember having headaches after hits and still continuing the drill (and sometimes after a big hit, you'd be encouraged to go multiple times in a row until there was a clear winner). I also remember being on kickoff coverage and sprinting full speed down the field and colliding with the returner. I'm 100% sure that hit resulted in a concussion but I played the rest of the game anyway.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

I think many of us in the pre concussion science era had similar experiences. Maybe one of the answers is to limit contact in practices as much as possible while still going over proper running and tackling techniques in practices just at slower speeds and getting rid of a lot of those full contact drills. I also think delaying tackle football as long as possible would help to some extent because in theory it would give the brain more development before we start beating on it.

I think if we don't make these sorts of wholesale changes proactively then football will slowly lose relevance because I'm not the only parent who won't allow my kid to play. So I'm attempting to find answers that allow football to be sustainable.

I went to Auburn and we used to travel far to play y'all! That's sad to hear man :(

There are wolves and there are sheep, I am the sheep dog

It's anecdotal, but I'm 31 and a large number of my closest guy friends have stopped watching football or are at least less interested than they used to be.

There's some data-supported evidence that shows that football's popularity is slipping, among younger people (emphasis mine):

Meanwhile, those who determine the future of spectator sports -- 18- to 34-year-olds -- are the age group least likely to favor football. But even among them, football tops all other sports by a comfortable margin. Soccer and baseball show meaningful differences by age, with soccer appealing more to adults younger than 55 and baseball more to adults aged 55 and older.

LINK

Now, its still popular and it won't go away soon but football has some issues that won't be easily fixed.

If the major sports leagues were publicly traded companies, I'd invest in the NBA:

The audience growth was led by hard-to-reach young adults, with ratings for 18-34 demographic up by 14% and the 18-49 age group up by 15%. The median age of the NBA viewer is relatively young at 42, compared to the NFL (50) and Major League Baseball (57). Local TV ratings grew by 3%, after a drop of 14% in 2016-17 season.

LINK

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

Was watching TV flipped over to the Giants, Jet preseason game and at the first 2 commercial breaks the Giants were advertising season ticket sales 5 weeks before the season and in the largest market and they still have enough tickets left to pay for advertising to try and sale them . The Football bubble has busted and will accelerate the cost vs entertainment return just not worth it to a lot of people . There are multiple issues but you can see the fringe teams in college football struggling to get quality players the pool is shrinking and it will happen faster than many think it can .

Coastal 1

That's a really good article. There is a clear trend for football (down), baseball (down), and soccer (way up), with basketball remaining steady. Makes you wonder what the landscape of sports in the U.S. will look like in 30-50 years.

Small town sports in SWVA is a hard game to keep going. In Wise County (the land of my youth), six high schools have consolidated into the current three. The county's only city, Norton, has been batting the idea of rescinding it's city status and being absorbed by the county for years, which would fold it's kids (and it's athletic programs) into the county school system. About three years ago, I had a conversation with an acquaintance who was a county official there, and the enrollment of Central High School (which combined J.J. Kelly in Wise with Pound) had about the same enrollment that J.J. Kelly had in 1979, when I graduated. Their graduating class that year was just under 100, as I recall, and my graduating class was (I think) about 100. The population base has dwindled dramatically, and the future's not looking rosy. So available body numbers are down. Funding is down, due to the lack of a tax base. Add that sports like football are getting bad press (some deserved, some not) and you've got a recipe for the death of small town sports. When I played football in 78 & 79, we had the largest football stadium in the area, and it was not unusual to play in front of several thousand fans, especially for big games. I don't know what attendance is like now, but I can tell you I've seen Central High's stadium, and it doesn't look to have the size of our old stadium in Wise. If there's someone in the area they can correct me if I'm wrong. Friday nights just aren't the same there as they used to be.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

Last season Park View High School in Sterling, VA had to cancel their season for lack of participation as they only had 18 kids show up for practices and apparently VHSL advoicates 25 students minimum to support a varsity football schedule. Park View is in one of the lower income demographics in Loudoun County, but even in one of the richest counties in America this can hit home. I haven't seen it confirmed yet but the administration at Park View had essentially planned to cancel 2019 as well thinking the football program would not have recovered enough for that.

One bright spot that came out of it though was that when actress Hillary Burton from the show "One Tree Hill" heard that her alma mater was having such difficulties due to funding shortages, she created a non profit to support all extra curricular activities at Park View and then also created a clothing line that all proceeds are donated to the non profit.

Patriots Cancel 2018 football season

Hillary Burton announces non profit to benefit Park View high school

Hell I remember them. They played Giles back in the 2005 state championship game. That was a hell of a game

Throw that Bob Marley wannabe motherfucker outta here. Maynard James Keenan. 1991

Participation in all sports are down. Football is getting highlighted because of the high # of players needed to field a team. When i was a kid my parents would put my ass to work if I didn't have ball practice or something else extra curricular to do after school. Times have changed.

Spring flag football leagues for kids are growing in popularity in the Lynchburg area. Is anyone else seeing that in their areas?

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

One of the biggest things killing football - at least at the rural Virginia high school where I work - is overspecialization. When I was in high school the football players also did track, basketball, baseball, or any number of other sports in the offseason. Now a lot of these kids are focused exclusively on 7 on 7, other outside leagues and constant sport-specific conditioning and weight training. Over the past 5-6 years we've had rising numbers of major injuries as well as psychological burnout. So it seems that by prioritizing football to that extreme degree, we're actually pushing kids away from the sport and making it less safe.

Virginia Tech Class of 2010. Former member of "330 Strong, The Spirit of Tech." I lived in Pritchard when it was all dudes.

A lot of our smaller schools up here (Michigan) are converting to 8 man football because of shrinking population base.

6-5, 10-1-1, 2-9, 3-8, 6-4-1, 6-5, 5-6, 2-8-1, 9-3, 8-4, 10-2, 10-2, 7-5, 9-3, 11-1, 11-1, 8-4, 10-4, 8-5, 10-3, 11-2, 10-3, 11-3, 10-4, 10-3, 11-3, 11-3, 7-6, 8-5, 7-6, 7-6, 10-4, 9-4, 6-7..........

There was a time when boxing was as popular as any sport in America, maybe with the exception of baseball, and football wasn't all that popular. So it's not impossible that football could slide back down the popularity scale, simply because people don't want to play a sport that is likely to give you health problems down the road.

I've thought that one potential idea that could help mitigate some of football's high injury rates is implementing weight limits. I'm just pulling these numbers out of my ass, but for instance in the NFL they could cap DBs and WRs at 180 lbs, LBs and TEs at 225, DEs at 240 and not allow any player heavier than 280.

Of course, it would be difficult to implement and you'd also have the health concerns that go with dropping weight. But I think it could help reduce some of the injuries we see from unnaturally HUGE men hitting each other at incredible speeds.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

They already have this in college, it's called Sprint Football, the academies win it a lot.

I know I am lucky and grew up to two very smart people, but I just don't understand why CTE is the nail in the coffin, my parent wouldnt let me play football because of the head injuries, this was early 90s when they said this. They aren't medical doctors. Football players have been dying young for decades. Just because we have a name doesn't mean you couldn't see what was going on.

Though I believe CTE isn't as much about hits to the head as it is the brain hitting the side of the skull, which is a lot of hits. Would be interesting to see how this all plays out when we get better information about CTE.

The biggest reason that CTE is the proverbial "nail in the coffin" is because the NFL vehemently denied that playing football lead to long term brain damage. The discovery of CTE in football players disproved the NFL's claims and lead to the settlement payout to former players suffering from brain injury. Check out "League of Denial" if you are more interested.

Unfortunately, extremely rural areas like SWVA are in a catch 22. Population is decreasing due to lack of opportunities and demographics. Most people who have the means to leave do as soon as they can. Often times those who stay feel that they have to stay for various reasons. Businesses don't want to go to these areas because of limited population and the demographics of the area. HokieEnginerd and I were discussing this with his siblings when we were in the 276 at one point. One of the points made was that often businesses go to hospitals in the area to observe the ER and see the drug use. Companies worry that there are not enough people in the area who are interested in the job. If people are interested, companies worry that not enough will pass drug tests.

Edit: Due to the population decrease, I know many of the schools in Tazewell county are closing/consolidating because there aren't enough kids to make classes.

Unfortunately, this is not just a local thing. I saw a commercial yesterday (right after reading this thread) about the decline in youth sports due to lack of funding.

2 time Longwood grad married to a Hokie.

Southern WV has struggled economically and with population decrease ever since the 1950s. Nearly every county and incorporated town/city is dying. There has never been any talk of disbanding football at any of the schools though. Most of these communities rally around their high school football teams, and you're basically a celebrity if you play for your county's football team. I'm not sure if the dynamic is the same in VA. My high school played Alleghany and Parry McCluer, and both of those communities are very passionate about their teams. I know Covington and Giles are very passionate as well. Covington doesn't even have 300 kids in grades 9-12.

My point is, I feel like a lot of it is the community the school exists, maybe moreso than economics. It's also entirely possible that people in WV don't know a lot about concussions. When I was in high school, head injuries were not talked about as much as they should have been.

I wonder if we'll start seeing smaller schools like Bland consolidating with other smaller schools and maybe being in their own league with other consolidated schools (just consolidating the teams and not the schools themselves).

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

I remember us playing you guys in the playoffs. I went to Northwood. That sucks that they are shutting it down :(