The ‘Flag Football under 14’ campaign is focused on repetitive brain trauma in young players. With tackle football requiring both tackling and blocking, regular head impacts occur, even when proper form is used (if proper form is mastered at this level.) Studies show youth tackle football cause the most repetitive head impacts. Strong evidence also is showing that repetitive head impacts, not concussions cause CTE.
Two reasons have been cited as to why young children are at a disadvantage when playing tackle football. One reason is brain development going through dramatic changes between the ages of (8 and 13.) Reason number two is called the “Bobblehead Effect.” While youth players are smaller, head impacts at this age might seem inconsequential (like a pillow fight!) However, using helmet sensors, researchers surprisingly discovered that young players experience head impacts that rival those of college players. The larger head size relative to their bodies contributes to this effect.
A youth helmet might be 10 percent of their body weight. The equivalent of an NFL lineman wearing a 30-pound helmet. The speed of the youth game doesn’t cause the severity of a head impact. However, young players cannot slow down their proportionally, heavy head down after a sub-concussive impact. Thus, the “Bobblehead” effect takes place.
The preceding information comes from the Concussion Legacy Foundation website. I encourage any/all parents to view its researched-based information and results.
Mike Sash, Oskaloosa