Can football be safer for your son?

Two youth football leagues in Ashland are a hit with young athletes – the YMCA flag football league and the North Central Youth Football League.

The YMCA is flag or ‘no-contact’ football and the other provides certified equipment and offers full contact.

The number of high school football players across the nation has dropped 4.3% in the last decade across most of the nation – player numbers are even in Missouri and have increased across the South – according to the National Federation of High School Sports Associations. Those numbers and medical studies showing early onset dementia among NFL and college players has many parents worried that their young football player could be injured when he puts on a helmet, pads and makes contact.

But Coby Morris, Director of Southern Boone Youth Football, which is a member of the North Central Youth Football League, made up of players in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades, says that tackle football is safer – especially in fifth and sixth grade – than flag football. A study from the University of Iowa backs Morris’ assertion.

~ Get more of this story and an interview with SoBoone’s Coach Tracy in today’s Journal ~

By Bruce Wallace