Football is a fan favourite sport. All you have to do is look at social media to see the excitement about the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. Many parents bond with their children over their love for this sport. Most parents are less thrilled if their kids express interest in playing football. Isn’t it too rough for growing bodies? New research suggests playing contact football could harm some children. This news may make you think twice about enrolling your child in a football camp or allowing them to play on the school team. But what about flag football?
The problem with “traditional” football is the physicality of the sport. Tackle football is, by nature, a rough sport. It’s one of the hallmarks of the game.
This aspect of the game has concerned many recreational players and parents. One of the best alternatives is flag football, which incorporates most of the rules of contact football while removing tackling and other physical elements of the game.
It’s specifically meant to address concerns about how rough football can be. The goal is a game that reduces the potential for injury but is still fun to play!
How It Works
This version of football introduces a new element to replace some of the rougher physical play. Instead of tackling the ball-carrier to the ground, players on the defending team try to capture a flag from the ball-carrier. This dramatically reduces the potential for injury.
Is It Safe for Kids?
As a parent, you might still worry this form of the game isn’t safe enough. After all, there’s still roughhousing. How do you capture the flag on the ball-carrier? What if players get too excited or aggressive? You worry the game could still end up being too physical.
Flag football was also developed with adults in mind. Originally, it wasn’t created for children; it was aimed at grown-ups playing in recreational leagues and games.
Keep in mind why it was created though! Those adults who were playing for fun and fitness were tired of getting hurt playing tackle football, so they set out to create a safer, non-contact alternative. It’s designed to keep physical contact and roughhousing to an absolute minimum.
Can’t You Still Get Hurt?
If you’re still concerned flag football isn’t safe, keep in mind your child could be injured playing any number of games or participating in virtually any sport. For example, hockey can also be a rough, physical game, and children can still get hurt.
These are usually accidents, however, and flag football works to make the potential for injury about the same as getting hit with a poorly aimed pass in soccer. Yes, your child could still get hurt, but the chances are far reduced compared to a contact sport like tackle football, hockey, or rugby.
The Importance of Safety
Another way to know this version of football is much safer for kids than its more physical cousin is to look at the list of safety equipment required to play. It’s much shorter! You don’t need to wrap your child in layers upon layers of padding to try to protect them.
That said, it’s still important to provide your child with proper safety equipment for any sport they want to participate in. Doing so makes every sport much safer for everyone involved.
Let Them Play
While it’s only natural and right to worry about sports-related injuries your child could sustain, don’t forget children need opportunities to exercise and explore. If your child is a passionate football fan, consider flag football as a safer alternative for them. You’ll worry less, they’ll stay safe, and they’ll still have the chance to play all day!