Is Flag Football Safer than Tackle Football?

With back to school season comes the decision for parents to enroll their children in a sports league. With growing concerns around concussions and our kids as recently highlighted by USA Today, that decision can be challenging. i9 Sports® offers flag football as an alternative to tackle for families who want to enjoy the benefits of involving their kids in one of America’s favorite sports without the same dangerous risks that can lead to head injuries.

Tackle Football vs. Flag Football for Kids Under 12 

Flag football has become a popular choice for parents across the country, even those that played tackle football themselves, because it offers the benefits of learning the game without the dangers of full contact tackle football. A recent Google survey of 537 parents commissioned by i9 Sports® revealed 62.3% of parents feel tackle football under age 12 is unsafe and 55.7% believe there isn’t enough concern about the risk of concussions in youth sports. 

i9 Sports® is proud to be a leader in raising national awareness about safety in youth sports,” i9 Sports® President and CEO Brian Sanders said. “The survey is a good indicator that parents are not only more aware of the issue, but are also choosing safer alternatives like flag football.”

Yet, there’s still more work to be done.

What are Beliefs Around Tackle Football and Concussions in Kids? 

Arguably the most startling result from the survey found that 40.5% of parents believe boys who play tackle football consider receiving a concussion a status symbol “because it means you are tough and play hard.” i9 Sports® was the first national youth sports league to implement a “when in doubt, sit them out” concussion safety policy and education for parents and coaches nationwide to change this perception.

Football Options for Concussion Prevention

“It takes more than a team, a coach or a league to make safety changes. It takes a movement. We’re seeing a full scale shift in parents’ thinking about safety and are pleased that parents now see that avoiding tackle football because of concussions doesn’t mean their kids can’t play a great alternative like flag football,” said Sanders.

While concussions are a serious issue, don’t let your apprehension keep your child away from the fun of the game. Youth sports help kids stay fit, build character and develop skills they will use the rest of their lives.

“Parents should look to non-contact sports, especially for children under age 12,” advises Keith Smith, former cornerback for the NFL’s Detroit Lions and owner of an i9 Sports® franchise in the Atlanta, GA area. “Let them develop their skills without the risk of injury from tackling and head to head collisions.”

For more information on youth flag football programs in your area, enter your zip code in our program finder