When it comes to youth football, there's a burning debate going on about when kids should or shouldn’t be playing tackle football. In some states, like Maryland, there's a group of individuals attempting to make it a state law that no child can play tackle football before middle school.
Despite not living in the ‘Free State’, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would be on board with the Maryland efforts — at least for his own children.
“There’s no pads out here, we’re not tackling, we’re not hitting,” Roethlisberger told Omari Sankofa II of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at his annual football camp. “We’re learning the fundamentals. To me, when you learn the fundamentals of football, football becomes a safer game. Too many times I think the game of football is played too early in terms of full contact hitting. I’ve heard of second and third graders playing full contact football, that’s too early.”
“I think early on, you need to teach the fundamentals of football — how to properly tackle, how to properly hit, throw and catch, all those things,” he said. “When you learn those things early, then when football becomes what football is supposed to be, the kids are better prepared for it.”
So, according to Roethlisberger, when are kids prepared for tackle football?
Roethlisberger would look into his own past to give the answer to this simple question. In Ohio, Roethlisberger didn’t play tackle football until he was in the 5th grade, despite tackle football being available at a younger age, and he said he kids would wait as long as he did before thinking about playing full-contact football.
This is a burning debate among parents and former players, and it begs the question of when is too early, and when does the experience of playing help form a safer game? What do you think about the topic? What age should kids be able to play full-contact football? Let us know in the comment section below!