OT: Is this hit dirty?

Submitted by natesezgoblue on August 21st, 2012 at 12:02 AM

This is from my sons 5th grade game on Saturday.  The DL late hits the qb(my son) and then head hunts the RB completely away from the play.  A flag is thrown only for the late hit on the qb.  the ref said he didnt see the hit.

Just looking for an unbiased opinion. 

happens on the 40 around the far hash







August 21st, 2012 at 12:08 AM ^

Of course. He totally blindsided that poor kid. It's one thing to have your head on a swivel, but when you're not remotely involved in the play you shouldn't have to protect yourself from getting hit like that.

Not to mention the obvious size difference. 


August 21st, 2012 at 12:10 AM ^

Probably, but 5th graders tend to exhibit poor judgment when they get riled up.  Just playing devil's advocate here.  On another note, do 5th graders always play on a full size field?  Seems like way too much space.


August 21st, 2012 at 12:18 AM ^

My first thought was actually that he was coached to do that, probably by a parent. 10 year olds don't tend to get that riled up just by playing sports. Something to talk to the league about imo, it would probably be good to make sure that kid gets talked to about it, they are very impressionable at that age and hitting for the sake of hitting in sports shouldn't be encouraged.


August 21st, 2012 at 11:57 AM ^

So, my view - the first hit looked iffy (leaning his head in, and then the late hit) but would have been OK if not late. The second hit was away from the play and dirty, and the player should have been ejected. (Question: was this Pop Warner, because there may have been a weight limit issue there?)

Yes - there are parents and sadly coaches, that coach kids to be aggressive like that, and even today to lead with their heads. The theory on leading with you head is using it to knock the ball out. Fortunately, USA Football, Pop Warner, etc. have been running a campaign to change how players tackle (i.e., "heads-up" tackling). Hopefully 8 years from now we have a new generation of College players who mostly been trained their whole way up to instinctively tackle this way.

But, I have witnessed coaches, and have had parents (who played football) teach their kids to play nasty the old way. One year we had a coach who assigned bigger players to toughen up the players he wanted to quit so his team could be more competitive. (That coach was invited not to return, went to another team and was banned there as well.) One year I had a player who's dad "played in the NFL", and pushed his son to be really aggressive. Since when he was really aggressive with the players his size, they'd be aggressive back, he'd purposefully line up against or in scrimmage hunted down the smaller or less agressive players so he could "look good". We'd watch him, and try to match him up with the right kids, but he did a lot of laps for actions just like the video in practice. (His dad was a problem off the field too - always mouthing off.)


August 21st, 2012 at 12:11 AM ^

I wouldn't be happy if that was my kid getting laid out like that, but it did happen a split second before the wistle, really not enough time to process mentally. Yes, it was away from the play, but I feel like this was the case of his father or coach telling him to be aggressive to the whistle more than anything. Kid needs to be sat down with for sure, though.


August 21st, 2012 at 12:21 AM ^

This is a no brainer, of course it was dirty. Hopefully someone talked to the kid during/after the game about that kind of play not being tolerated, sure hope both kids are ok.

This is just my opinion (don't crucify me) but I don't think kids should be playing full contact football until at least middle school, I for one wouldn't want my kid taking shots like this at such a young age.


August 21st, 2012 at 12:32 AM ^

but I've been disappointed with USA Hockey going to non-contact through Pee Wee (12U) while Hockey Canada is full contact after 10U (Atom in Canada, Squirts in the US)*.

I honestly feel it's safer to teach proper contact at a younger age. I'm not sure the emphasis is the same in football, but I know in hockey learning to take a hit is a skill, and not learning how to do it when an 85lb defenseman is hitting you could lead to bad things when a 185lb defenseman is doing the same.

*It used to be 12U in American and 8U in Canada. I'm not saying we shouldn't evolve, but I think in the rush to protect young kids we're missing possible dangers for slightly older kids.


August 21st, 2012 at 12:34 AM ^

That's certainly a reasonable point of view, personally in my community they have a great flag football youth league that is extremely popular and safe for kids under 13.

You can certainly teach technique and learn the ins and outs of the sport itself, but taking a hit in the open field during a football game is a bit different then learning how to turn away from one defender trying to dislodge you from the puck . In football you have 11 defensive players trying to hit you almost regardless of the situation, I just don't see how you can teach a kid to take a hit in football.


August 21st, 2012 at 12:38 AM ^

Maybe the better football analogy would be looking at ideal rules for OL and DL in youth flag football, where hitting/blocking technique is more important than a ballcarrier with a whole team looking to kill him.

Obviously there isn't an easy answer, and you could well be right, just a random thought this evening.


August 21st, 2012 at 12:42 AM ^

i coach the team, i can absolutely 100% say that you can teach kids to take hits. a cheap shot is a cheap shot.  it shouldnt be alowed and dicipline should happen.  There are dirty hist in flag football as well.  IMO flag football isnt football.  it teaches kids bads habits as IMO hinders them later in football.


August 21st, 2012 at 12:49 AM ^

Flag football doesn't need to be purist or elite football. It's a good way for kids to learn the rules of the sport itself albeit without taking the punishment that today's football emplores. You are right though, there are dirty hits involved with flag football as well but I think it's a safe bet to assume they are in fewer frequency then in full contact football.

This is my personal opinion, and it's nothing against you or other parents, I just don't want to see my kid take a hit like those posted above and look like a rag doll. 


August 21st, 2012 at 12:41 AM ^

Both organizations have moved up their ages for full contact, and have claimed to do so for safety. The most inside information I have is from USA Hockey Official's Seminars, where it's basically just stated as gospel that the injury rates for young players decline with less hitting. If they do have stats (I'd bet yes) I haven't seen them and couldn't say whether they took into account the effect, if any, on older players.


August 21st, 2012 at 8:40 AM ^

I know that part of the reason is just youth, the other is that some kids are naturally larger by a lot at that age. The non-contact keeps those kids from dominating the ice while a smaller but more skilled player just gets shoved off the puck.  My son is currently playing in Squirts, he wants to check, but keep telling him no.




August 21st, 2012 at 12:46 AM ^

I'm with you.  Something I've found interesting since all the concussion talk started is that soccer has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to head injuries.  Even 15-20 years ago when I was at that level, at least in Michigan they had rules against headers until kids were 12 years old, and headers are generally a lot less traumatic than what is shown in the video.  Say what you want about soccer being less physical by nature and a pansy sport (I'm not going to bother arguing if anyone thinks that on here), but they found the potential risk factors for head injury within the game and limited them before any injuries happened.  Makes you wonder why football needed so many studies and disabling injuries to come to the same conclusion, which should be more obvious in football.


August 21st, 2012 at 12:07 PM ^

for two reasons:

1) the biggest kids, who have weighed out of Pop Warner their whole lives get to Middle School do not know how to hit or block, and thus become turnstyles such that the smaller skill players in the backfield get hit and hurt a lot more. Those same big kids (who either played up one or two levels in Pop Warner and suffered, or played their first time in Middle School) are likely to be discouraged, and quit.

2) my son has always been big and awkward with no hands. if he had played flag football instead of tackle in 2nd grade, he would not be playing football now, and may not be playing any sport - maybe with the exception of swimming. His confidence that he belongs and contributes in football, helps him overcome his awkwardness in lacrosse, basketball, baseball, track, soccer, etc. (Pop Warner was not an option for me when I was growing up, and so by Middle School I had already determined I was not an athelete.)


August 21st, 2012 at 12:19 AM ^

Because these are little kids, they both are "dirty." However in any level of competitive football, the hit on the qb is not dirty at all. The second one is arguable. It looks like that is an interception in which case it would once again be a clean block in high school/college/nfl. Since it is little kids, the flag should of and did come in.


August 21st, 2012 at 12:24 AM ^

Yep.  He's been coached in some way to be aggresive in that manner.  It may not neccessarily be to inflict harm or be "dirty" but that type of play seems to indicate he's been told to head-hunt..


August 21st, 2012 at 10:03 AM ^

I've never played football, so my opinion might is less informed than others on this, but since when does playing til the whistle mean hitting unsuspecting people when the play is completely away from you and done with? Shouldn't playing til the whistle mean hustling back towards the ball and cleaning up any missed tackles there? Granted it was intercepted and his second of pause after the QB hit before he accelerates towards the RB indicates maybe he thought he was throwing a block downfield. But if you watch the replay, he turns around and sees the interception just as the WR is tackling the CB; the play is clearly over and, yes, he is 10 so maybe he just didn't fully realize the play was over and was only thinking "block for the return," but he definitely should have been able to see the CB go down. Makes me wonder about the coaching. I don't know what happened obviously as I only saw the clip, but the coach should have taken him out and benched him or at least aside to ask the kid what he was thinking and if he felt the kid was just trying to block tell him he needs to be more observant of the play and have him sit out at least a few plays. Definitely worth mentioning to the league so that if a pattern develops the league knows about it.


August 21st, 2012 at 12:45 AM ^

Here are my assumptions which I am not clear about:

1.  You are talking about the second hit

2.  The play resulted in an interception

Once again, I feel it is necessary to distinguish between little kids football and real football.  In this game, absolutely throw the flag.  The refs should show caution with little kids and it should be about sportsmanship, etc.

In a college game, this is a hard, but acceptable block.  If that ball is intercepted, the guy that was blocked is probably the only one who is going to catch him and he is not far away from the play in that sense.  It is also not really after the ball is dead because it is a split second between the whistle to the hit.  They teach you to play to the whistle and this is what happened here.

Edit:  And there is no distance away from the ball that is "too far away" to throw a block.  Coaches will teach lineman to drive the guy on the other side of them all the way into the endzone or out of bounds into the bench if they can.


August 21st, 2012 at 10:10 AM ^

True, there is that split second between the whistle and the hit, but watching the video, you see the kid turn around and notice the interception just as the WR is tackling the CB. So obviously, maybe he immediately went into block mode and this is one of the instances where the uniform rule of play til the whistle ends resulted in a cheap and unfortunate hit, but maybe some more discretion should be taught as the kid should be able to see the CB being tackled before he takes off for the RB. Also, the way he stands over the kids for a second staring at him seems to indicate that he was looking for the contact more than he was looking to clear potential tacklers (cause if he was why wouldn't he immediately turn around looking for other people to block), but maybe that is trying to assume too much about 10 year olds' thought processes when playing sports. 

Beavercreek Blue

August 21st, 2012 at 12:37 AM ^

The first one yeah! The second one sounds like the whistle blows after the hit? Second is why is that kid just standing there? A good way to get hurt is standing around during a play! After I rewatched the clip not sure if the first one is late? He just released the ball? That kid needs to play a grade up to avoid hurting kids. He looks like Branch out there.


August 21st, 2012 at 12:46 AM ^

While I can recall many dirty plays like this from the early days of fooball in peewee leagues/middle school, seeing it on video, of 5th graders/9/10 year olds taking head shots like that, makes me rethink full contact at that age.

If I were the father/uncle/etc of that rb, I'd be pretty damn upset/enraged/etc.