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The case for flag football as an Olympic sport

The Olympic Games are unlike any other sporting competition in the world. Over 16 days, over 300 events from 35 sports and every country in the world compete for the coveted medals and I have looked forward to watching the Summer Olympics every 4 years for as long as I can remember. But something was always missing. As one of the most popular sports in the United States and one of the top 10 sports in the world, it looks like tackle and flag football could be Olympic sports by 2024, but there are still challenges for that to become a reality. First, we’ll go through some of the reasons why the road to getting American football into the Olympics wasn’t an easy one, followed by why we believe

Why is American soccer not already an Olympic sport?

According to an NFL.com article, the biggest logistical problems faced by American football competing in the Olympics are very similar to those of rugby. With the large number of participants in each team, the ‘gender equality’ formats where both men and women compete in each  and the condensed 3 week schedule that would be difficult with a sportier game like football and rugby. Additionally, the barrier to entry for American football is high due to the cost of equipping all players with pads and equipment, and as a result has also been slow to adopt in many other countries, particularly the poorer ones.

Knowing all of this, it’s hard to imagine that either sport

Would go well with the Summer Olympics. Rugby is very similar to football in that very little is required to play the sport at its base level in terms of equipment and training, and it has a much larger international fan base. Among other things, this has led to rugby recently being cleared for the Olympics from 2016 by changing the traditional style to a less traditional “sevens” format that’s faster with fewer people, which could help follow a similar path to pitch for American football, or flag football to be more precise.

Resolve security concerns

More and more high school, college, and pro teams are beginning to reduce the amount of contact drills they do and continue to wear soft padded headgear and shoulder pads for added protection. But what if we could limit the contact players see before high school and middle school, while also addressing some of the concerns about the sport’s full acceptance in the Olympics? There has been a lot of talk about the safety of tackle football lately. and not just in the NFL, where concussions are a big problem. Already in youth football, there is new evidence supporting the idea that in children between the ages of 8 and 13, even if the concussion is not repeated head impacts and collisions can lead to similar brain injuries later in life. Many researchers suggest that children shouldn’t play soccer at all, suggesting that children’s heads are “a larger part of their bodies and their necks aren’t as strong as adult necks. Therefore, children may be at greater risk of getting a head”. and brain injuries as adults.”

 

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