Eau Claire (WQOW) - Seventh graders at DeLong, Northstar and South Middle Schools in Eau Claire will play flag football this fall instead of tackle football, according to a press release from the Eau Claire School District.
By working with North and Memorial High Schools, the Eau Claire YMCA and the Eau Claire Parks and Recreation Department, the district will be transitioning the 7th grade football program to a flag football program beginning with the Fall, 2018 season.
According to the school district, there has been a 50 percent decline in participation in tackle football in the youth program at the Eau Claire YMCA over the past ten years. Tackle football participation has also declined at the middle schools and high schools in the district. Much of the decline in tackle football nationwide is due to parental fear of injury, specifically concussions, according to the district.
In an effort to increase participation in football at both the middle and high school levels, the ECASD’s middle level athletic council is working with North High School head football coach Dave Decker and Memorial High School head football coach Mike Sinz to develop a quality 7th grade flag football program. Both coaches have experience playing and coaching within the flag football model.
Information sessions about the transition will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 9, at Northstar Middle School; at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 16, at DeLong Middle School; and at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 23, at South Middle School. Sessions will be led by middle and high school football coaches.