For the first time in three decades, participation in high school sports has dropped on the national level.  The data comes from a study by the National Federation of State High School Associations.  LHSAA President Eddie Bonine says the national trend is not reflected in Louisiana.

“We’ve hovered right around 93,000 students over the course of my tenure here.  This year, we are going to be around 96,000, so that is going to be an increase for us,” said Bonine.

The sports that saw the biggest declines were football and basketball.

Among the possible reasons for the decline is the issue of players’ safety, something Bonine says his organization doesn’t take lightly.

“I feel confident with what we’ve got going on right now, not only in football and soccer and other sports where you may see concussions but any of our coaches that are out there in this hot weather we are having,” said Bonine.

The numbers are not a disaster for high school sports as the most recent season had the third-highest number of athletes on record.  Bonine believes sportsmanship is a contributing factor that keeps the numbers high locally.

“We’ve taken a hard line on that and will continue to do so, we’re going to work cooperatively with all the school administrations and their resource officers and anybody that is in charge of game management at our venues,” said Bonine.