High school football is arguably the most popular sport in the state of Texas.
But many believe the ability for kids to love and, more importantly, learn the game starts when kids strap on the pads at an early age. Kids are starting to play at seven or eight year old, if not younger.
Many parents and coaches, including those who let their kids play youth and Pop Warner football, are understandably concerned about the safety of the sport. They are also worried, along with many medical professionals, about that repeated head trauma that has the potential to lead to short-term and long-term brain damage and disease.
This year, state lawmakers in Illinois, New York, California and Maryland have even introduced legislation that would set an age requirement (12) for kids who wished to play tackle football.
But, a recent paper published by Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program Analysis is still likely to get some push back from some parents and coaches, especially those in Texas.
The paper puts forth one solution: all kids across the country should play flag football until they reach high school.
In doing so, kids would would reduce their exposure to major health concerns. In addition, the paper believes that eliminating youth tackle football could increase participation in the sport, which has been on the decline in the past several years.
You can read the full paper here.