Indian Prairie middle schools drop tackle football
Indian Prairie Unit District 204 will eliminate tackle football at its seven middle schools next fall and replace it with flag football, officials said Friday.
In a letter late Friday to parents, principals from all seven schools said they made the decision in response to declining participation over the past several years, fueled in part by parental concerns about injuries, including concussions.
"In some cases, we do not have enough students to field a team during a game and have been forced to forfeit," the principals wrote. "We have heard from parents that the potential for injuries, including concussions, has been one reason students haven't participated."
Replacing tackle with flag football will give more students a chance to play, they said.
"We believe this noncontact version of the sport will still provide the opportunities to teach the fundamentals of the sport with minimal risk of injuries, including concussions," they wrote.
The program will be open to seventh- and eighth-graders with no weight classes. The district's middle schools will compete against each other with schools having one home game and one away game against each school during the season.
"We believe these changes will provide a safer opportunity for an increased number of students to enjoy playing football," the principals wrote.
District 204 serves students in portions of Naperville, Aurora, Plainfield and Bolingbrook.