Tackle football declared dangerous for children
By Colten Kamlade, Staff Reporter
Football Hall of Famers Harry Carson and Nick Buoniconti have teamed up with the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) to end tackle football for children under the age of 14.
To encourage parents to keep their kids out of tackle football, the CLF has created the Flag Football Under 14 All- Time Greatest Team; a list of NFL players who didn’t play tackle football until they entered high school. The list can be found on the CLF website, and consists of stars such as Tom Brady and Mike Haynes.
Robert Lake, an instructor in the department of sport science at Douglas College, said he agreed playing tackle football can cause a lot of harm, but not just for children.
“I would say that football—the way it is played now—is a dangerous sport for adults and kids, but especially for kids,” he said in an interview with the Other Press. “While the helmets are well made and the padding is solid, this does not protect the head 100 per cent. No helmet can. In fact, one of the unintended consequences of improving helmet technology is that the helmets and pads might make the players feel more invincible.”
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE,) the degenerative neurological disorder caused by blows to the head which has been found in retired NFL players, is a risk in sports aside from football, according to Lake.
“CTE is something that any sport where there are repeated blows to the head must face as a potential issue,” he said. “In hockey, the main issue is with the big hits that knock players onto the ground. These are rarer than in football, given the nature of the game and the fact that the idea is to stay on your feet—there is no ‘tackling’ in hockey—but CTE is still a real possibility for hockey players who take repeated blows to the head.”
Lake reiterated the dangers of tackle football, and he emphasized the harm it can cause to children.
“Tackle football is dangerous for children, in my opinion. There is no getting away from that,” he said. “I certainly would not want my children playing tackle football, and I support the move to ban tackle football for the younger children.”