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Is flag football more dangerous than tackle football?

SOUTHLAKE — With all the controversy surrounding concussions and football, a lot of parents have been looking for a safer alternative to the hard hitting sport.

For many, that’s led them to get their kids into a flag football league. But it turns out that may not be any safer.

A study published this week by the University of Iowa, shows common injuries are actually more likely in flag football than tackle. The study found no major difference in the number of major injuries or concussions.

So we took the findings to an expert to get his take.

“I think it probably flies in the face of what a lot of people have been told,” said Dr. Chad Stephens with Noble Sports Medicine. “And it flies in the face of what seems logical.”

But Dr. Stephens says he still sees a significant difference in the types of injuries.

“Even though there’s probably more injuries based on what the study shows to flag football players, their return to play was faster because they were usually less major injuries,” Stephens said.

That doesn’t mean there’s no risk, though, especially since most flag players are out there with no pads or helmet.

“If you have a head-on-head collision in a flag football game, the chances of getting hurt are worse,” Dr. Stephens advised.

But those are the chances you take in any sport.

“Cheerleading to baseball to hockey, there’s a lot of contact sports that injuries occur in,” said Dr. Stephens. “And that’s just kind of a risk you take when you sign your kids up.”

Whether the risk outweighs the reward of scoring touchdowns on the field is for every parent to decide on their own.