(WKTV) - A late-summer/early-fall tradition that used to be overflowing with child participants is now struggling to get enough kids to sign up.
Pop Warner football programs are seeing a decrease in interested kids. Some local municipalities used to field six or seven teams, but in recent years are lucky to get two or three.
The president of New Hartford Pop Warner says the problem is universal. He thinks a major reason for the diminished interest is parents believe youth football is a lot more dangerous than it actually is. The 10 years he's been involved, he says they've never had a serious injury and only a few minor ones.
The other challenge is there are so many things competing for kids' time and attention these days.
"There's more to do for kids," said Rich Marchitelli. "Years ago, we came home from school, we went outside, we played football, we played baseball. Now it's all electronics, games, hanging out, friends, a lot of kids want to work. They chose to work in the summertime, whenever. They want a car. So we're competing with all of that."
Coaches and players can sign up til Aug. 4. To sign up for New Hartford Pop Warner Football, visit www.nhartfordpopwarner.com.