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LACK OF PROTECTION IN FLAG FOOTBALL

Bran'Niya Myrick

 

Flag football is an imminent, well known female dominated sport. Flag football is a variation of traditional “American football” with a team made up of 7 females who’s objective is to score points by making touchdowns, although, unlike “traditional” football the defensive team must remove a flag or flag belt from the ball carrier to end a down. Flag football began to gain attention in 2013 when the Miami Dolphins held a small jamboree which led to the sport becoming more publicized. For example, just this year player Diana Flores was featured in a commercial that aired during the 2023 super-bowl! That commercial proves that flag football is becoming more and more known while also inspiring and empowering women of all ages all over the world. With that being said, it’s ashamed that our women aren’t being held to the same standards compared to the males in the football industry.


(Google image of Diana Flores)


aThe rules of flag football are simple: only forward pitches, flags on both sides and one in the back, and there is no contact prohibited. Just like any other sport there are are players who don’t play fair, there are “cheap shots”, and there are biased refs, all components that would make for a difficult, unfair game. The only difference between the unfair and difficult circumstances in a flag football game and any other sport would be that any other sport has protection. During male football game the players are on the field suited with shoulder pads, helmets, visors, thigh and knee pads, and a jockstrap along with compression shorts. Alongside the protection the wear during the game, not too far away on the sidelines there are multiple trainers on standby. Meanwhile the females who are playing the same sport as them are sent out of the field with just a simple mouth guard. As a collective we all have to realize that this isn’t okay, this lack of protection in this sports industry is discouraging and disappointing. A prime example of why better protection should be worn during flag games would be the game that took place on March 15th when the Piper Bengals played the St. Thomas Aquinas, during this game the lack of proper protection on the field led to one of our Senior players Ryniah to endure a painful accident on field which resulted in her limping of the field with a devastating ankle injury which ultimately resulted in her in a cast. All star athlete Teliyah Mclnnis shares a post expressing how she feels and says “Difference between Boys Football and Girls - when we get tackled/hit/cheap shot, we DON'T have Pads to protect us, we DON'T have Helmets to protect us!!


Instead we take OUR Hits straight up with NO PROTECTION!!! This just shows Our Health isn't as important in their eyes cause to them it's just Girls FLAG!!!”, explaining how this sport isn’t taken seriously because there’s the word “flag” in the name.



(Photo source Teliyah’s instagram)


Most people would argue that padding and protection in flag is unnecessary because it’s “just flags” or they would argue that having a trainer on field is unnecessary. What those people fail to realize is just like males while in the game accidents and injuries are bound to happen, but unlike other sports in flag there are no precautions put in place when an incident occurs. To further explain, a personal injury I had experienced during my 2022 middle school flag season would be a prime example as a rebuttal. During this incident I was forcefully tackled to the ground on accident by two opposing players, once on the ground I was unconscious for minutes and when I regained my consciousness my vision was impaired and my speech was slurred. While this incident was taking place there was no immediate action being preformed to insure my safety, nor did I have on any protective gear that would prevent a head injury. That incident led to me to later being diagnosed with “post-concussion syndrome”, months after this accident took place I was still reaping the horrible side effects due to my lack of proper protection. Another common reason why society would argue that proper protection isn’t necessary is because of money. Although multiple sources disprove this theory, according to “CTINSIDER” the average high school football team can spend anywhere from $18,950 to $32,700 on protective equipment, practice gear, and game equipment, and that’s based on an average team of round 45-50 players. Meanwhile there are around 14 players on a flag football team which means if they were given the same protective equipment as males that would average around $5,173 to $7,924, which is substantially less than male football. On average most schools have a budget of 600,000 each year which means that there is more than enough money in the budget to fund proper protection for flag football.


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