Kentucky high school sports sees increase in participation

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – More students are participating in high school sports, according to new numbers out from the Kentucky High School Athletics Association.

The association says participation in sports and sport-activities reached record levels in 2018-19, with 106,931 students competing across the KHSAA’s 13 sports and six sport-activities.

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That surpasses last year’s then-record total of 106,241.

KHSAA says the addition of six sport-activities – archery, bass fishing, bowling, competitive cheer, dance, field hockey, and esports – has helped bolster numbers.

There were seven sports that saw a decrease, according to KHSAA, including football, which still remains the most popular sport in the state in terms of participation.

KHSAA says the decline in football participation is partially due to concern over safety.

“While the sport has never been safer, in terms of both rules and equipment, the combination of declining school enrollments and many choosing other sports with a perceived lower risk of injury as an alternative, are having an impact on football participation,” says KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett.

Participation numbers were also down for basketball, cross country, golf and softball.