In the last few years there have been many health controversies surrounding football. These concerns have trickled down from the NFL to local youth footballs programs. Many parents wonder, “is it worth the risk?”. If your child is jumping at the chance to play football, but you feel it is unsafe, there could be an alternative. Youth flag football programs are becoming more popular across the country. Parents feel that it is safer than traditional tackle football, especially with children under the age of fourteen. If you are on the fence, here are some points to add to your pro and con list.
Kids are not miniature adults. By the age of four, the heads of kids are 90% of adult size. However, their necks are much weaker than that of an adult. This combination can create danger and health risks. When a child takes a blow from falling or being struck in the helmet, it is more difficult to keep the head steady. The result is a greater force to the brain from being jerked inside the skull. There is very little information that has been gathered regarding long-term effects of repetitive head traumas among young children. In recent news, professional football player’s brains have been examined after death and have tested positive for degenerative brain disease, CTE. Just like anything in life, there is always some amount of risk. Youth flag football is going to be safer. However, it is football, so contact is going to happen. Your child is just as likely to have an injury, but it may not necessarily be as serious as a blow to the head or neck.
Most importantly children just want to play sports and have fun! Many parents do see the importance of getting their children involved in team sports, but above all want them to be safe. If your child has the desire to play football, but you don’t feel comfortable with them playing youth tackle football, get them involved with a flag football program! During playing time your child is learning to play football in its simplest form, and run routes to be in the position to get the flag.
For more information regarding the flag football program at Cullman City Parks and Recreation, contact the Civic Center at 256-734-9157 or visit us online at cullmanrecreation.org!
Community Wellness Coordinator
Cullman City Parks & Recreation