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Study shows that flag football should be standard until high school

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a ton of talk over the years about the violent tendencies of football and how it impacts the adolescent. This has come to the forefront as the medical community starts to better understand¬†Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

Sure the focus has been on how CTE has impacted professional players. But aren’t children more vulnerable to the impact of helmet-to-helmet blows? This one study recently conducted by the¬†Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program believes that’s true.

The study concludes that flag football should be standard in organized leagues up until high school.

“This debate has been pushed to the forefront because it’s clear how much more is at stake now, the study notes. “Starting with brains of children, which need to function effectively and efficiently to thrive in the new, information-based economy.”

The study recommends that USA Football, Pop Warner and all youth football organizations make the switch to flag football up until the age of 14. Children will then be given instruction on blocking and tackling at the age of 12, making it less likely injuries will occur once they hit high school.

This comes on the heels of multiple states failing to pass similar regulations in the past. That includes bills in California and New York.

The institute cites recent reports that the number of high school football players has shrunk in four consecutive years. Simply put, parents are now more hesitant to let their children play football. Whether these recommendations would change that remains to be seen. But they are pretty intriguing.