Is Tackle Football Safe for Pre-Teens?


There is little doubt among experts that youth football is a risky endeavor, but whether that risk means that children should not play tackle football seems to be a matter of perspective and opinion. Some critics and medical experts strongly oppose the notion that children under high school age should play full-contact tackle football, while others argue that life is not without risks, and that risk alone should not determine whether a child plays tackle football.

Though there are clear risks, including the potential for injuries and concussions, some doctors still give children the go-ahead to play tackle football, citing the sport's benefits as a physical endeavor and a social exercise that teaches important values. However, abstaining from tackle football does not mean that a child cannot play the sport at all; flag football offers a no-contact alternative for those who are concerned about their child's brain development. There is a general reticence in organized football to recognize the lasting damage that football-induced brain injury can cause, which may further complicate the argument.