Local high school football teams see decrease in enrollment

Posted at 4:52 PM, Aug 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-19 18:37:55-04

Wisconsin high school football is kicking off Friday night, but some schools are seeing fewer players out for the team.

TODAY'S TMJ4 found multiple freshmen teams seeing a drastic decrease to their roster size. As the newest class of Menomonee Falls takes the high school field, a higher level of competition brings the same fear for parents from past seasons.

"Well naturally having your kid get hurt," said Ray Jesko.

This year's freshman Indian's squad is noticeably smaller. Only 32 athletes are out for the team, down at least a dozen from last year.

"A lot of people might be afraid of concussions," said Jesko.

"I know there might be some concerns with the kids' safety," added Deltha Smith.

Marquette University High School is seeing the same issue with its freshman team.

"Whether it's the parents or athletes themselves, they may have that in their minds,” said MUHS Athletic Director Bob Herman.

The safety of the game that produces the most concussions for high school athletes has been a hotly debated issue nationwide and here at home. Sports concussion specialist Karie Zach says she's not surprised to see the dip in participation.

"I think that there's not been an increase in concussions, but an increase in awareness for concussions," she said.

Despite concerns about potential long-term effects, parents cheering from the Menomonee Falls sidelines say keeping their kids off the field hasn’t crossed their minds.

"He loves the sport, he knows what to watch out for," said Smith.

If you're a parent or a student playing on the field, get more information from Mayo Clinic about what to look out for when it comes to concussions here.