Study finds most parents want age restrictions on tackle football

April 2, 2019 / Football
A new survey found that the majority of parents would support age restrictions on when their children are able to begin playing tackle football.

Researchers surveyed 1,025 parents of children ages 5 to 18 years. Here are some of the key findings, as reported by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • 61% supported age restrictions for tackling; an additional 24% said they “maybe” would support such restrictions.
  • 45% said the age limit should be middle school; 37% said high school.
  • Nearly 63% of mothers definitively supported restrictions compared to 58% of fathers.

Youth organizations for hockey and soccer have implemented restrictions on body checking and headers, but no such ban has been adopted for football. However, some state and local leagues have taken matters into their own hands by dropping tackle football for flag. In February, Massachusetts lawmakers introduced a bill that would place a statewide ban on tackle football until the eighth grade.

A major catalyst for a ban is the greater attention paid to concussions and, according to the study, roughly half of all football injuries are related to tackling.

From the AAP:

Authors of the new study called for the AAP to take another look at the risks versus benefits and update its guidelines.

“US parents are willing to accept age limits on tackling in youth football,” they wrote. “Organizations that are responsible for shaping public discourse about this topic (such as the American Academy of Pediatrics) may find it useful to consider US parents’ attitudes regarding age limits on tackling, alongside research quantifying the risk of tackling, when they revisit this topic.”

Read more from the AAP.

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