As people start to learn just how dangerous football can be for players, even at the youth level, and now that neurodegenerative disease CTE has been even further linked to football, parents are keeping their kids out of the sport.

Now, one youth sports organization is cancelling tackle football all together because of dropping participation rates. Instead, the Spokane Youth Sports Association will offer flag football.

From USA Today High School Sports:

SYSA Sports Coordinator Glen Reser said the decision came from declining interest in tackle football from participating families.

“Over the last several years, we’ve seen our numbers decrease at a fairly steady rate,” Reser said. “This year, we just made the decision to eliminate the program. The numbers just haven’t been there.”

The YMCA will still offer tackle football in the Spokane area, but this might not be the last time a youth sports association cancels tackle football. Young athletes are perhaps the most vulnerable to traumatic brain injury, as their brains are still developing.

Even worse for the sport is that the public still doesn’t fully understand the dangers associated with football. For example, the article claims that the YMCA league is safer, because it offers “safer tackling” from the NFL’s Head Up program. The article notes that this “may reduce the risk of concussion,” even though studies show that Heads Up doesn’t really work to prevent brain injuries.

The only proven way to make football safer? Play less football.

[USA Today]

About Kevin Trahan

Kevin mostly covers college football and college basketball, with an emphasis on NCAA issues and other legal issues in sports. He is also an incoming law student. He's written for SB Nation, USA Today, VICE Sports, The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.