The number of high school students playing sports reached an all-time high this past school year, according to the latest annual survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
The High School Athletics Participation Survey, released last week, draws on data from the 50 state high school athletic/activity associations, plus the District of Columbia. It shows that more than 7.6 million students participated in high school sports in the 2010-11 school year, an increase of nearly 40,000 over the previous school year. This was the 22nd straight year with an overall increase in participation in high school sports, according to the federation. Based on the survey, the federation estimates that 55.5 percent of students enrolled in high schools now participate in school-sponsored athletics.
Not surprisingly, 11-player football sits at the top of the list, with a total of 1.1 million student-athletes having played the game in the 2010-11 school year.
Outdoor track and field teams didn’t trail far behind football, enlisting 579,302 male and 475,265 female participants. Basketball attracted more than 900,000 boys and girls this past school year.
Among girls’ sports, lacrosse experienced the greatest one-year increase, as an additional 6,155 girls took part, an increase of 9 percent.
Overall, girls now account for 41 percent of high school student-athletes, according to the survey.
A version of this article appeared in the August 31, 2011 edition of Education Week as Sports Participation Hits Record High