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Tackling in Youth Football

The head and neck sustain a relatively small proportion of overall injuries, ranging from 5 percent to 13 percent. Fortunately, most injuries are contusions, musculotendinous strains and ligamentous sprains.

American football remains one of the most popular sports for young athletes. The injuries sustained during football, especially those to the head and neck, have been a topic of intense interest recently in both the public media and medical literature.

The recognition of these injuries and the potential for long-term sequelae have led some physicians to call for a reduction in the number of contact practices, a postponement of tackling until a certain age, and even a ban on high school football. This statement reviews the literature regarding injuries in football, particularly those of the head and neck, the relationship between tackling and football-related injuries, and the potential effects of limiting or delaying tackling on injury risk.

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