TackleBar—a new format for youth football—could potentially reduce the risk of concussion injuries among young players. A detailed article about the growing popularity of this emerging sport is available here.
While football remains a popular sport for young people in Ontario, many parents—citing the risk of concussion or other forms of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)—are no longer allowing their children to participate. TackleBar—a new alternative to both full-contact and flag football—now claims it is safer than both.
The new sport is now gaining popularity with some high school teams across Canada—as well as the Mississauga Football League. Rather than tackling a ball carrier to the ground, the new format allows players to remain on their feet.
TackleBar was founded three years ago by Jeremy and Brigid Ling—entrepreneurs from Minnesota who wanted a safer alternative for children. Since that time, the sport has spread to youth football leagues in 21 U.S. states.
While players still wear helmets, shoulder pads, and other protective gear; they take a different approach to tackling. A tackle is counted when a player removes a foam bar from a harness worn on the ball carrier’s back.
Lower Risk of Harm
Researchers from the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation call TackleBar a median between full-contact and flag football—claiming the new sport can help reduce the risk of brain injuries.
Those researchers recently went so far as to highlight the sport at the 13th World Congress on Brain Injury in Toronto. In TackleBar, researchers found no concussions—and only five injuries overall—among 17,000 exposures. The overall injury rates uncovered by researchers include:
- TackleBar Football — 0.3 Injuries per 1,000 Exposures
- Full-Contact Football — 2.2 Injuries per 1,000 Exposures
- Flag Football — 5.7 Injuries per 1,000 Exposures
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