Feb 16, 2017
Flag vs. Tackle

Flag football is often seen as a less dangerous alternative for younger players. A recently published study’s findings don’t support this idea.

“We wanted to test the hypothesis that not allowing tackling might reduce the risk for injury in young athletes,” Andrew Peterson, a specialist with the University of Iowa Sports Medicine and the study’s lead author, said in a UI news release. “Based upon our results, we cannot conclude that youth flag football is safer than youth tackle football.”

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Published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, Peterson and his colleagues’ study examined the injury rates of three large youth football leagues with a total of 3,794 players. Altogether, there were 128 injuries reported. In general, the number of injuries was relatively low overall.

The researchers found that injury is more likely to happen in flag football, compared to tackle football. On top of that, the number of severe injuries and concussions did not have a significant difference between the two groups.

“We hope that this information will help families as they make decisions about a child’s participation in youth football, either in flag or tackle leagues,” Peterson said.

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