SALADO - In Texas, high school football is a religion with stadiums serving as chapels.
However, a recent study shows membership in that church is down.
According to Texas Monthly, less than 11 percent of high schoolers in the state now participate in football, down from 14.5 percent at the turn of the century.
Two big culprits of that are a negative stigma over injuries and increased specialization in youth sports.
"The 3- and 4-sport lettermen, we aren't going to see that anymore," Salado HS football coach Alan Haire said.
One big proponent to earlier specialization is a higher emphasis on club sports which has really boomed since the millennium.
"All the select leagues and things in which they can be a part of, unlike when me and you went to school, when those weren't available," Haire said.
Specializing has hurt other sports, as well, as Texas Monthly states other UIL sports are seeing participation numbers drop off.
It's also led to more injuries in all sports which is why this past spring, Midway HS baseball coach Eddie Cornblum told Channel 6 he likes seeing multi-sport athletes.
"I think we need to look at it and say, 'How about you go play soccer and let's get your feet really good, or basketball,'" Cornblum said in May. "Football would be great for the toughness of it."
But for now, coaches stress rest, as this trend of specialization shows no signs of slowing down.
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