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Tackle and Flag Football Participation Increases in 2015

Source: USA Football

The number of young athletes age 6-14 and 15-18 playing tackle and flag football increased in 2015 compared to 2014, according to the 2016 USA Football Participation Survey which is part of the annual Physical Activity Council (PAC) Participation Report. The annual PAC Participation Report measures and identifies trends across 102 sports, fitness and recreation activities. 

Among U.S. children age 6-14, 2.169 million played tackle football in 2015, up 1.9 percent from 2014 (2.128 million). Flag football participation among the same age group totaled 1.669 million in 2015, up 8.7 percent from 2014 (1.535 million).

 

SPORT

AGE 6-14, PARTICIPATION PERCENT CHANGE: 2015 vs. 2014

Flag football

+8.7%

Baseball

+3.3%

Tackle Football

+1.9%

Soccer (outdoor)

-0.4%

Basketball

-0.4%

Softball (fast-pitch)

-3.7%

Among U.S. children age 15-18, 1.248 million played tackle football in 2015, up 2.5 percent from 2014 (1.218 million). Flag football participation among this age group totaled 548,000 in 2015, up 10.5 percent from 2014 (496,000).

SPORT

AGE 15-18, PARTICIPATION PERCENT CHANGE: 2015 vs. 2014

Flag football

+10.5%

Tackle Football

+2.5%

Basketball

+1.1%

Soccer (outdoor)

-0.6%

Softball (fast-pitch)

-1.1%

Baseball

-1.4%

“Football participation increases, even modest increases, may signal that medically endorsed programs, including our Heads Up Football program and practice guidelines, are making a positive difference,” USA Football CEO SCOTT HALLENBECK said. USA Football is the sport’s national governing body and a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. “It’s clear that coaching education – including concussion recognition and response, heat preparedness, and sudden cardiac protocols – is improving and driving behavior change. It’s too early to tell if the latest participation increases are a trend.”

“You’re seeing greater physical literacy in better youth football programs – programs that embrace coaching education and teach the sport smarter and safer,” Sports & Fitness Industry Association President and CEO TOM COVE said. “In football and other sports, it will be interesting to learn if participation keeps rising as player safety continues to increase and the trend of higher standards in coaching education becomes the norm.”

PAC Participation Report findings are based on a survey of 30,000 Americans age 6 and older. Sports Marketing Surveys, USA, leads research for the annual PAC report. The PAC is comprised of eight sports industry organizations, including USA Football, dedicated to grow participation in their respective sports and activities.

More than 1,100 high schools and nearly 70 percent of U.S. youth football organizations enrolled in USA Football’s Heads Up Football program in 2015. Heads Up Football is a comprehensive approach to teach and play the sport, encompassing coaching education, equipment fitting, tackling and blocking fundamentals, CDC-approved concussion recognition and response, sudden cardiac arrest protocols and heat preparedness and hydration. The program is endorsed by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the Korey Stringer Institute and more than three dozen other leading organizations across medicine, sport and child advocacy.

USA Football is an education partner of the National Federation of State High School Associations. The independent nonprofit works with leading experts spanning medicine and sport to train more high school and youth football coaches combined than any organization in the United States.

About USA Football: 

USA Football (www.usafootball.com) evolves and grows the sport through innovative standards and best practices to advance coach and player development, participation and safety within the fun of the game and its inherent values. As the sport’s national governing body and member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Football partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and athletics to support positive football experiences for youth, high school and other amateur players. Follow USA Football at www.facebook.com/usafootball or on Twitter @USAFootball.

 About the Physical Activity Council:  

The Physical Activity Council (PAC) is made up of eight leading industry organizations that are dedicated to growing participation in their respective sports and activities. To understand their audiences, these organizations conduct annual studies that provide comprehensive, accurate and actionable data on sports participation. The PAC is made up of the following trade and industry associations: International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA); National Golf Foundation (NGF); Outdoor Foundation (OF); Snowsports Industries America (SIA); Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA); Tennis Industry Association (TIA); United States Tennis Association (USTA); and USA Football.

 

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