Another Washington, D.C. area high school has cancelled its varsity football program for the 2018 season. Bladensburg High School, a public school in Maryland’s Prince George’s County school system, announced the cancellation of its season last week prior to its scheduled season opener against Eleanor Roosevelt High.
The move follows similar actions by three Northern Virginia schools reported earlier, Manassas Park, Park View and Charles City High, this fall and a move by Centennial High School in Ellicott City, Maryland, to disband its program last season. The director of interscholastic athletics for the Prince George’s County Schools said the Bladensburg decision was made “based on a lack of participation and safety concerns,” according to a report by Samantha Pell in the Washington Post. “The team’s practices included roughly 31 players, not an ideal total but enough for some schools, but many of the players lack experience.”
Nationally, in the past decade, high school football enrollment dropped 6.6 percent, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, due in large part to the lack of data concerning participants’ susceptibility to contracting the life-threatening brain damage known as “chronic traumatic encephalitis” (CTE) that recent years’ evidence is showing has been rampant in professional football players, and also has been present in college and high school players.