The Progression of Flag Football
The biggest story in football this year may not be the high-scoring National Football League (NFL) teams such as the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs or how the Alabama Crimson Tide continues to dominate the college game. No, the most important football story of 2019 could be that a lot of youngsters ages eight to twelve are joining Flag Football over tackle Football. That’s right, a lot of youngsters are joining in on the fun of Flag Football without having the repercussions from tackling opponents.
The Sports & Fitness Association, a group that keeps track of sports participation, says that flag football is the fastest-growing team sport in the past three years. Recently, the Aspen Institute, an organization that studies sports and many other issues, published a report on flag football. It’s changed from tackle to flag Football for boys before the age of fourteen.
First, flag football is safer. In recent years, there has been plenty of talk about the danger of concussions and other brain injuries from playing tackle football. Should middle schools let Football players risk damaging their brains?
While most people have been regarding injuries to NFL and college players, youngsters could also be at risk, too. Kids have weaker necks than older athletes, and their brains are more likely to bounce around after they get hit. In addition, kids’ brains are still developing, and so brain injuries and hits to the head may have more effects on them than on adults.
Some studies suggest that playing tackle football before age 12 may increase the risk of memory and behavior problems later in life. Should kids play tackle football? A brain injury researcher says no. Second, a lot of youngsters could also be more partial to play flag football than tackle.
More youngsters could also be ready to play flag football as a result of flag needs less gear thus making it less costly for parents. Youth football helmets can cost almost $400. Some parents, however, think kids can become good football players only if they learn the blocking and tackling techniques early. But some notable legends — like quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Brees, as well as Hall of Famers Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, Anthony Munoz and Lawrence Taylor — didn’t play tackle football till highschool.
In any event, the move to flag football is going to happen. A 2016 study by the University of Massachusetts at Lowell found that 78 percent of adults thought kids younger than 14 should not play tackle football. That’s a lot of moms and dads. Face it. The future of kids football is flag.