Football is a very popular sport in America. It is almost a traditional sport for high school teens. Children as young as 5 are part of tackle leagues all around the country. However, a shocking observation by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons is that football has proven to be the number one root of school sports injuries.
Due to this awareness parents have become extra cautious and are often found enquiring from coaches about what is the right age for their young ones to join a football league.
Injury Risks Associated with Youth Football
As stated in the American Academy of Pediatrics report, the rate of injuries before high school is unestablished, however, it is mentioned that the numbers of serious injuries caused in football are far greater than in other team sports.
The knee, ankle, hand, and back, according to the AAP, are the most frequent football injuries. Strains, sprains, and contusions are common football injuries. As per the AAP analysis, head and neck injuries account for a tiny percentage of overall injuries, ranging from 5% to 13%. However, it is generally in these regions that the most serious issues arise.
Pros and Cons of Football
Several people support youth football, including some medical practitioners. Football, like other youth sports, can keep children happy and content by providing established physical and mental advantages. However, the danger of injuries, particularly long-term harm, is a serious issue.
Football practice provides a frequent possibility for mental stimulation and aids in the physical fitness of players.
Football, like other team sports, offers academic benefits. Young athletes do better academically, and sports provide an educational incentive.
Team sports provide possibilities for camaraderie and connection, as well as for the development of social skills.
Head and neck injuries, particularly concussions, are a source of concern for doctors.
According to research, tackling is hazardous. Collisions and repeated strikes to the head, as per the American Academy of Pediatrics, are connected to a variety of health concerns, including behavioural disorders, cognitive challenges, headaches, and possibly Parkinson’s disease later down the line.
What Age is Right for My Child to Play Football?
Deciding when to begin tackle football is a hard call that each parent must make themselves. According to Boston University research, athletes who initiated tackle football before the age of 12 are far more likely to develop behavioural and cognitive difficulties. As per a study from the Aspen Institute, flag football should only be played until high school. Flag football enables individuals to practice the same standards and tactics without engaging in bodily contact.
Conversely, based on the current AAP research, injuries to younger players are less serious than those to high school or college players. Tackle football is still prevalent among elementary school children. Some experts recommend considering a children’s cognitive ability rather than his or her age. Certain kids, for example, may have the power and stature to play tackle football at the age of 12, but others may be weaker and feel vulnerable. Before opting for youth football, parents must consult with their physician or paediatrician.