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Flag football: A safe introduction to the world of youth sports

While most people are only familiar with flag football as one of the many games played during P.E. in school, it was actually created by military personnel during World War II, when players didn’t have access to the helmets or pads used in tackle football. However, the sport has expanded since then, now boasting leagues across the country for a wide variety of age groups.

Parents looking to involve their kids in youth sports might be wary of football considering the well-publicized risk of injury. But flag football, compared to traditional tackle football, is a safer alternative that allows kids a chance to learn the nuances of the sport without putting their body at risk. Flag football is also a great opportunity for children who might not be interested in playing the game long-term, but are interested in sports as a fun way to exercise and meet new friends.

Flag football 101

Flag football players wear a belt with a detachable flag, and instead of tackling to end a play, opponents must rip the flag from the belt. Though rules and regulations differ depending on the league, flag football usually involves shorter quarters, shorter fields, and fewer players on the field, which gives more kids the chance to be out on the field instead of warming the bench.

Limited physical contact

Although tackle football includes protective helmets and pads, players are still at risk for injury due to the brutal nature of tackling. Flag football still involves an offensive and defensive line, which means a certain degree of blocking, but restrictions on physical contact means the most common injuries are limited to minor bumps and bruises.

Easy transition to tackle

According to several coach surveys, there are few, if any benefits to learning how to play football through tackle leagues compared to flag leagues. However, most youth flag football leagues follow rules that are not consistent with high school and college tackle football programs, requiring a learning curve for youth athletes making the transition. NFL Leagues United, on the other hand, follows tackle football rules while adhering to the no-contact regulation to keep kids safe.

NFL Leagues United combines athletic excellence with academic accountability

Enabling a smooth transition to tackle football is only one advantage of NFL Leagues United over other flag football leagues. NFLLU also focuses on combining athletic excellence with academic accountability, providing student athletes with the tools they need to succeed on the field, in the classroom, and beyond. For more information about NFLLU or questions about how to register, visit us at

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