Flag football no safer than tackle football

University of Iowa study shows flag football is not safer than tackle football

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - A new study by the University of Iowa is showing flag football is not safer than tackle football.

The university's health care researchers found there really wasn't a significant difference in severe injuries and concussions between flag and tackle football.

The study involved large youth football leagues with almost 4,000 players. They compared the number of injuries between the players on flag football teams and tackle teams.

In this study, they considered an injury to be anything that kept a player from practice or a game. Researchers found injuries happened more often with flag football players rather than tackle players. But Dr. Andrew Peterson with the University of Iowa's Sports Medicine program said tackle football is a relatively safe sport and there are more benefits than risks.

"We know there's real risk related to sedentary activity and obesity. It's better to keep kids moving and keep kids active. I'd rather tolerate a little bit of risk on the football field than this known risk of inactivity and obesity," said Dr. Peterson.

Nearly three million children ages six to 14 play in youth football leagues in the U.S. Sports-related injuries are still the lead cause of all injuries in children and adolescents.

USA Football recently made big rule changes for kids. Some include limiting the players to seven per team and having smaller fields.

Dr. Peterson says he's eager to see if research on whether or not these changes make youth football safer.

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