I find it hilarious that anyone truly believes that any kid who wanted to "sit around and play on their phone" was playing football--at any point, really, let alone in recent years. Hell, high-school sports as a whole are seeing participation INCREASE, and not just through adding girls' teams.
This is about an increasing number of people seeing the danger inherent in the sport and not being willing to put themselves at that level of risk. Especially since if you want the leadership or coaching or camaraderie aspects there are plenty of other options from which to choose.
Soccer has far more concussions, but football is the one taking the greater heat and you don't see 1,000s of x football players going crazy as the media would have you to believe.
When has anyone in the media said that "[thousands] of [ex-]football players" are "going crazy"? They report what comes out, which is that several high-profile players have committed suicide or otherwise died in tragic fashion or one sort or another, that in multiple cases where tests were performed the players were shown to have traumatic brain injuries, and that, as best as can be seen in our current state of medicine, the primary way to receive that particular level of trauma is by repeated impacts to the head over a long period of time.
There already has been one study of a limited population that suggested this is less prevalent than is often presented, but that goes against the limited but larger amount of evidence that this is a serious risk. Since the medical community is only in the beginning of setting up long-term studies, we can only go on what we can see right now, and if people don't want to take that risk, large or small, the only cowards involved are those going on the attack.
@Pedro Soccer has far more concussions, but football is the one taking the greater heat and you don't see 1,000s of x football players going crazy as the media would have you to believe.