A new study from the University of Iowa suggests that flag football isn’t safer than tackle football among youth athletes.
UI Health Care researchers found that there was no significant difference in the number of injuries and concussions sustained between the two leagues.
Andrew Peterson, a specialist with UI Sports Medicine and the study’s lead author, said in a news release Tuesday that researchers “wanted to test the hypothesis that not allowing tackling might reduce the risk for injury in young athletes.”
“Based upon our results, we cannot conclude that youth flag football is safer than youth tackle football.”
Peterson and the other researchers studied three large youth football leagues with almost 3,800 combined participants, comparing the number of injuries, severe injuries and concussions in players competing on flag football and tackle football programs.
The results showed that injuries were more likely to occur in youth flag football than in youth tackle football. Research also found that the number of injuries in youth football players is relatively low overall, but sports-related injuries remain a leading cause of injury among children.
About 2.8 million people between the ages of 6 and 14 participate in youth football in the U.S., the release said.
“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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