Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 9/6/11
Both boys’ and girls’ lacrosse made large gains in participation in high school sports in 2011, according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
Girls’ lacrosse participants rose 9 percent in 2011, to 74,900 high school players. The next closest team sport rise came from gymnastics, at 5.2 percent. The amount of girls’ teams also rose 6 percent.
With 74,927 participants nationwide, lacrosse cracked the girls Top 10 listing for the first time as it moved past golf (71,764). Outdoor track and field was close behind lacrosse with an additional 6,088 participants, followed by soccer (5,440), volleyball (5,347) and cross country (2,685).
Boys’ lacrosse rose at the highest rate, 5.5 percent, of any sport. There were 95,700 boys’ lacrosse players in 2011. The amount of boys’ teams also rose 6 percent.
Based on figures from the 50 state high school athletic/activity associations, plus the District of Columbia, that are members of the NFHS, sports participation for the 2010-11 school year reached another record-breaking total of 7,667,955 participants.
Boys and girls participation figures also reached respective all-time highs with 4,494,406 boys and 3,173,549 girls participating in 2010-11 – an overall increase of 39,578 participants from 2009-10.
“While the overall increase was not as much as we’ve seen in the past few years, we are definitely encouraged with these totals given the financial challenges facing our nation’s high schools,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “The benefits of education-based athletics at the high school level are well-documented, and we encourage communities throughout the nation to keep these doors of opportunity open.
“Based on the survey, 55.5 percent of students enrolled in high schools participate in athletics, which emphasizes and reinforces the idea that high school sports continue to have a significant role in student involvement in schools across the country.”