Flag Football Under 14
These iconic football players and coaches agree: stick with Flag Football Under 14
Some of the most respected names in football agree that playing tackle football too young puts children at an unnecessary risk for additional brain trauma. Iconic coaches and players believe that waiting to enroll your child in tackle football while their brains are still developing is the best choice.
“If I had a son, I would be very, very reluctant to let him play [football] knowing what I know now - which is not a lot. At least for us, there is still so little known about [chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the brain disease linked to repeated head hits] but what we do know is, it’s not good, especially for youth. You have to believe that every time a kid is tackled … that she or he is doing detrimental things to his or her brain that may be irreversible. That is really scary. I would be very reluctant. I’m thankful that I have two beautiful daughters and don’t have a son and have to worry about that.”
-Brett Favre, Pro Football Hall of Fame QB (FOX Business)
“I’m a firm believer that there’s no way that a six-year-old should have a helmet on and learn a tackling drill. There’s no way. Or a seven-year-old or an eight-year-old. They’re not ready for it. Take the helmets off kids… Start at six years old, seven years old, eight years old, nine years old. They don’t need a helmet. They can play flag football. And with flag football you can get all the techniques. Why do we have to start with a six-year-old who was just potty trained a year ago and put a helmet on him and tackle?... We’ll eventually get to tackling.”
-John Madden, Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach and Broadcaster (ProFootballTalk)
“I just don't think [tackle football] is worh tthe risk. I think they can have just as much fun, really more fun playing flag football and developing the skills that if they ever want to transition, they can do it. Flag football promotes the passing game, right? So you truly develop a lot of those fundamentals, whether you're a quarterback, running back or a receiver. And then as a defender.”
-Drew Brees, All-Pro QB, New Orleans Saints (KTBS 3)
“I always encourage youngsters in America to play soccer,” Harbaugh told reporters in Ann Arbor. “I think every American boy should play soccer till the eighth grade, then they should play football – American football.”
-Jim Harbaugh, Head Coach, University of Michigan (Wall Street Journal)
“I don’t think football needs to be played until you’re in ninth grade. That’s my personal opinion with kids growing up.”
-Dana Holgorsen, Head Coach, University of Houston (WV Gazette-Mail)
"I did not play tackle football until high school, and I will not allow my grandson to play until 14, as I believe it is not an appropriate sport for young children."
-Harry Carson, Pro Football Hall of Fame Linebacker, Super Bowl XXI Champion (CLF)
Ditka: “If you had an 8-year-old kid now, would you tell him you want him to play football?”
Bryant Gumbel: “I wouldn't. Would you?”
Ditka: “Nope. That's sad. I wouldn't. And my whole life was football. I think the risk is worse than the reward. I really do.”
-Mike Ditka, Pro Football Hall of Fame Tight End, Super Bowl XX Champion Coach (Chicago Tribune)
"I think football is a tough, competitive sport to begin with and you're taking young people and the brain is not fully developed between that age group (of 8 and 12). I think you're running a severe risk."
-Leonard Marshall, 2x Super Bowl Champion Defensive End, New York Giants (ABC News)
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