Or can they?
So, I'll get to the link really quickly here, so you all have a chance to read it.
This has been rehashed several times now, but I feel that it never really comes to a clear answer, in part because of some extenuating circumstance (the girl only plays kicker, and has a no contact rule for her, opposing players complained, etc). In this case, this 5th grade girl, pretty good sized at over 5 feet and 110lbs, plays defensive end and is evidently pretty darn good at it.
Where does everyone come down on this issue. I think it's stupid to ban her for the following reasons.
1. CYO's have women's locker room facilities available. She can dress and then they can hold pre-game meetings in one of the facility's multi-purpose rooms, no problem.
2. She's playing defensive end. She's not asking for any special treatment. She wants to hit, and be hit.
3. At the 5th grade level, the girls are often BIGGER than the boys. This is not a safety concern right now.
4. There is not enough girl's interest in football to start a girl's only league,
The nature of football as a contact sport is such that if you are small and weak enough to get seriously hurt playing it, you're gonna be too small and weak to actually see the field. Let her play until puberty takes over and she can't compete well enough to keep her spot. That will happen long before there's an injury risk more appreciable than for any other player.