Another NFL Great Recommends Kids Don’t Play Tackle Football Before Junior High School

In this piece from the Orlando Sentinel, George Diaz quotes former Miami Dolphin great Larry Csonka as saying “Kids shouldn’t play tackle football until junior high…” and cites lack of qualified coaches and proper equipment as reasons.  The link includes a video of Nick Buoniconti’s son (Buoniconti is another Dolphin legend) talking about the struggles his father is going through after playing football for so many years.  The piece also mentions Buoniconti’s other son, Mark, who was paralyzed playing college football.

I continue to recommend flag football for youth prior to high school.

Published by Chad Millette

I am a father, a husband, a retired Air Force officer, and a dedicated youth recreational sports advocate.

2 thoughts on “Another NFL Great Recommends Kids Don’t Play Tackle Football Before Junior High School

  1. Great advice. Flag will easily allow players to play multiple positions, learn football principles and techniques without succumbing to impact related injuries. In actuality it seems to make the player more teachable when the tackling starts, because they already understand football principles, they just need to apply them to a full contact situation. So the options are; with flag football as a precursory experience – “I know what to do, now I just need to learn to protect myself while doing it” verses; straight into tackle football “I am simultaneously learning what to do and learning how to protect myself.” The former is the obvious choice to me for someone who has long term athletic asperations.


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