Changes coming to youth football programs

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) — Improving the safety of football has been a hot topic for several years. Making the sport safer and more fun at the youth level is where the discussion starts. The Sioux City schools and Sergeant Bluff-Luton are transitioning to a new model for youth football next season.

Incoming third graders will now participate in padded flag football instead of full contact tackle football. The new model will allow more players to play multiple positions on offense and defense.

The hope is that smaller teams will mean more playing time and create healthier player matchups. They’ll use smaller fields geared toward development and teach rules that will focus less on tackling at an early age.

“Obviously the perception is tackling is dangerous at the lower levels,” said Sioux City West Head Coach Joe Schmitz. “There’s kind of some mixed medical reviews on what’s safer and just different types of injuries. So I think, the biggest thing for me was getting more kids to be able to do a lot more different skills versus just getting stuck blocking the whole time or standing on the sideline.”

Parents also had feedback in the new transition.

Brad Pautsch

Brad Pautsch

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