South Carolina county bans youth tackle football, parents respond with petition
A county council’s vote to ban youth tackle football in one South Carolina community has led to an online petition.
The Union County council recently voted to ban tackle football, over head injury concerns, and some local parents are unhappy, according to Nickelle Smith of WSPA CBS 7. The county’s recreation department offers a youth football league for ages 5 to 12.
The petition, created on chanege.org by Missy Wilkes, already has over 1,200 signatures.
“As a community, I think we all felt we were just left out of the decision,” Wilkes told WSPA.
Area youth football coach Patrick Kelley acknowledges the injury concerns, but thinks the county’s decision could hinder development for those who will go on to play tackle football.
“Maybe with the younger kids – get rid of the tackle just to start with fundamentals for them – and then take them up to tackle, but I think before they get to Sims [Middle School] they should know blocking and tackling,” Kelley told WSPA.
Fellow youth coach Tyler Shugart says teaching proper technique prevents serious injuries and that there are still injuries in flag football.
“The first thing we do is teach them how to tackle correctly so they don’t get a head injury or a neck injury,” said Shugart. “Moving to flag football won’t prevent injuries. They’re still going to hit each other. They’re still going to fall. They have no pads, no helmets. The best way to prevent injuries is to teach correctly the proper techniques for tackling.”
The county is reportedly setting up a meeting next week for further discussions before a final decision.