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Tackling contact football in youth leagues

Should tackling be taken out of youth football for ages 12 and under?

Posted: Jan 6, 2020 10:19 PM
Updated: Jan 6, 2020 10:38 PM

It's an issue worth tackling.
Two states up north, banning tackle football for children 12 and under.
"But the south we love tackling," East Limestone Youth Football Coach Eddrick Malone said.
Concussions are common in tackle football and can lead to depression, gradual loss of brain function, and cognitive problems, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Malone, has coached youth football for six years. He says he's only seen one concussion.
"That concussion actually happened outside of youth football, it happened in P.E.," he added.
Malone says in youth football, safety comes first.
"That's one of the things we actually teach, is keeping the head out of the game."
East limestone Youth Football President Brandon board says he's aware of the two states who banned tackle football for 12 and under, but its something his league isn't going to do right now, but the league has flag football for ages four and five.
"That's why I'm big on signing kids up early so they can get the fundamentals down as quick as possible, so when they get to that age when they can actually tackle, it's a habit," Malone said.
Board echoed Malone's stance on safety, saying
"Each head coach is required to go through a program called, heads up."
"Its like a schooling, you have to take hours of course work online," Malone added. "It teaches you about the safety of football, heat exhaustion, it teaches you about actually concussions, how to spot concussions."
The Heads Ip course helps coaches identify signs of stress.
"I'm able to see signs of a potential concussions, so like I said, parents should feel safe, players should feel safe," Malone said.
An Annals of Neurology study found for every 2.6 years of repeated head collisions, an athlete's risk for developing, chronic traumatic encephalopthy, or CTE, doubles.
"You can't tackle with your helmet," Malone said. "You can't lean forward and actually hit, we don't teach that."
Malone says by starting tackle football in youth leagues, it gives players extra years of proper training.
"Don't hold them back, sign them up, start them young, don't wait till they get to 12 or even middle school, go ahead and sign them up, let them learn."

More info on East Limestone Football League found here.

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