A youth football league in New Jersey became the first in the state to mandate the use of protective headgear for its flag football teams.
The Warren County Midget (Youth) Football League (WCMFL) will require all of its flag teams to use protective headgear by 2017, according to MyCentralJersey.com.
After researching products on the market for shock absorption and impact protection, the league decided to implement soft protective headgear, different from a standard football helmet.
League president Dan Eggemann has approved a one-time credit to each of the teams affected by the rule change, to help offset the cost of purchasing the new equipment. That strategy differs from the norm in youth sports, where equipment costs are typically passed on to participating families.
Mandating headgear is not the first step toward player safety that the league has undertaken. The league has also eliminated kickoffs for teams younger than fifth grade.
The WCMFL’s flag teams are comprised of young players ages 5 through 8, usually in Kindergarten through second grade.