Tackle vs. flag football for kids under 14

Credit: KING

Tackle vs. flag football for kids under 14

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by CHRISTIE JOHNSON / KING 5 News

kgw.com

Posted on November 2, 2011 at 11:09 AM

SEATTLE -- The potential for a high impact collision is there every time a football player steps onto the field. 
 
"The first time I played football and got tackled, it felt like I ran into a brick wall" said Mack Strong, a 14-year NFL veteran.
 
Even though Washington state has one of the toughest concussion laws in the country, just the threat of a brain injury has many parents asking if football players under the age of 14 should be strapping on pads at all.
 
"There is a lot of development going on with kids at a young age and it is really important to protect the brain," said Christopher Villa, Executive Director of i9 Sports.
 
The Centers for Disease Control says that "young athletes with a traumatic brain injury experience longer recovery times and are at greater risk of serious outcomes compared to adults."
 
It is because of research like that Mack Strong has his own young kids playing flag football.
 
"There is a lot about kids' safety that I'm just really concerned about. I see a lot more kids these days with concussions and injuries," said Strong.
 
On the other side of the field are the three million youngsters between six and 14 who play organized tackle football. USA Football, the sports governing body, regulates it and believes that concussion training and education for coaches is the key to keeping kids safe.
 
"The biggest step is education and that's been happening in the last few years. When in doubt, sit them out" said Rich Ross, President of the Northwest Junior Football Association.
 
Regardless what side of the 50-yard line you sit on, both sides can agree one on thing, keeping kids safe.
 
"At the end of the day it is all about having these kids walk off the field the same way they walked on the field, healthy and happy with an opportunity to enjoy this great game," said Strong. 
 
The CDC, USA Football and i9 Sports all have free education and training tools for youth coaches and parents on their respective websites.  
 




 

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