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South Salt Lake Journal

After a long wait, South Salt Lake recreation launches flag football for its city youth

Jul 01, 2022 10:28AM ● By Brian Shaw

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

After having been delayed the South Salt Lake recreation department launched their flag football league this past May.

Slated to have begun in spring 2020, the league was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Dustin Permann, SSL recreation coordinator.

In a little over a month, enough kids ages 7-12 registered to form eight teams, which the city’s recreation department split into two separate leagues.

Those leagues played on Mondays and Wednesdays from April 25 to May 18 at Central Park. Kids participating received a jersey that they wore to all of the games.

At the final game on May 18 the kids also received a participation award and pictures.

Flag football is fast becoming one of the most popular youth sports in the United States. It is a non-contact sport and according to Natara Holloway, NFL vice president of youth and high school football, “is an opportunity for young people as a first step into the game and a pavilion for them to grasp mundane skills.”

The New York Times recently revealed in part that “during the past three years” participation in the sport by 6-to-12-year-olds increased 40 percent by “more than 1.5 million.”

That goes in line with several recent studies that seem to indicate that fewer kids are participating in tackle football due to the risks associated with that sport at an early age.

One, from the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center said that the “normal development of a child’s brain can be easily disrupted by playing just one season of tackle football.”

Another study that was conducted at Boston University revealed that “adults who have played tackle football before the age of 12 have been three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression compared to those who haven’t.”

The other reason for high participation numbers in flag football across America may be the cost. On average, playing flag is $100 less for families. For example, for this eight-game season, kids in South Salt Lake paid just $25 to play, non-residents $30, and scholarships were also available to those who qualified.