So do you think you can keep your child safe from concussions and other injuries by enrolling him (or her) in a flag football league rather than tackle? You might reconsider.
A report released in February from the University of Iowa show that flag football is not safer.
The abundance of news over the years about the long-term effects of repeated head injuries from the pro to the youth level has generally concluded that children under the age of 12 should not participate in contact sports such as tackle football.
The UI researchers studied three large youth football leagues with almost 3,800 participants. The research team compared the number of injuries, severe injuries, and concussions in players competing on flag football teams and tackle football squads.
The results of the study, published in the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine, showed that injuries were more likely to occur in youth flag football than in youth tackle football. There was no significant difference in the number of severe injuries and concussions between the leagues.
The researchers found that the number of injuries in youth football players is relatively low overall, but sports-related injuries remain the leading cause of injury among children and adolescents. About 2.8 million people between the ages of six and 14 participate in youth football in the U.S.
Due to the increased awareness of concussions among young athletes, the Indiana High School Athletic Association has developed a list of suggested guidelines for management of concussions.
“Any athlete suspected of having a concussion should be evaluated by an appropriate health care professional that day. Any athlete with a concussion should be medically cleared by an appropriate healthcare professional prior to resuming participation in any practice or competition.”
The language above appears in all National Federation sports rule books as part of the suggested guidelines for the management of concussion. It reflects a heightened emphasis on the safety of athletes suspected of having a concussion, especially since the vast majority of concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness.
The State of Indiana has a law (Ind. Code 20‐34‐7) which mandates a protocol to be observed in the event there is an athletic head injury or concussion sustained by a high school student in a high school practice or contest.
The complete list of guidelines can be found at the IHSAA web site: www.ihsaa.org.
It is encouraging to see the increased awareness of the dangers of concussions among young athletes and professional athletes alike. Still, there are some reckless people out there who do not adhere to the guidelines and may force a young athlete to continue to play. Sometimes the symptoms of a concussion may not occur until days or even weeks later.
If you feel that your child has suffered a serious head injury as the result of an irresponsible coach or medical professional, our attorneys at Theodoros & Rooth would like to hear your story. It costs nothing to consult with us. If we believe you have a case, we will represent you and your child through every step of the process, and will fight for the compensation you deserve.