(Exercising my public voice)
I believe that tackle football needs to be changed in America, we should only allow kids to play tackle football from 7th grade and up. The reason that I believe that this needs to occur is because kids are susceptible to server injuries and concussions when they are still developing. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states “A recent evidence review found that tackling is “associated with pretty much every negative outcome” in youth football, including concussions and severe injuries.” I believe, allowing a child who is not even ten years old to play tackle football is absurd, they can hardly even control their own growing bodies and don’t understand the important safety nuances of tackling a person while playing the sport. Mark McLaughlin MD reinforces my point on this in his article Traumatic Brain Injuries and Your Child “The child brain is imminently more susceptible to a concussion for several reasons. A child’s head is proportionately significantly heavier than the rest of their body compared to an adult’s, making children particularly susceptible to head and neck injuries.” Many parents have the same concerns that I do regarding this, more needs to be done to protect children if tackle football is going to be allowed at such a young age. Per HeathDay.com, “Many parents are concerned that not enough is being done to protect youth football players from head injuries”.
In recent years’ studies, have shown that concussions have a LARGE and determinantal effect on human beings. The recently discovered disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) has shed new light to the problems that can occur to a human’s brain. When children cannot control their bodies correctly or understand how to tackle properly this increase their chances of having these brain injuries occur at a very young age, which is terrible for a children’s development.
My position is to change how football is played from Kindergarten to Sixth Grade. By changing it to Flag Football for these years I believe that it would successfully allow coaches to teach children the rules of how the game is supposed to be played. When they enter their seventh-grade year they will be allowed to begin to play tackle football, this way they understand how the game is played, they have a higher capacity to learn how to tackle properly and safely without putting themselves or others at risk of severe injury.
I believe that these changes will cut down on severe injuries in children and lower the risk of having multiple concussions before they even go through puberty. By no means do I believe that this will eliminate all injury but it will significantly help. Please let me know what you think, as I believe this is the best way to keep the sport alive while keeping our children who are passionate about the game as safe as possible. However, as William Meehan states, “Parents and players will need to decide whether the health risks associated with tackling are outweighed by the recreational benefits of the game.” (The American Academy of Pediatrics Tackles Youth Football Injuries)