This week over 2 million viewers watched Sam’s impressive speed and versatility on YouTube. Sam Gordon is a girl playing in an all-boys tackle football league in Utah. Sam finished the 2012 season with a stat line that would make any parent and coach proud. According to the video, she scored 35 touchdowns on 232 carries, totaling 1,911 yards and averaging 8.2 yards per carry. And just for the fun of it, she also had 65 tackles.
It is hard not to watch this video and be wowed, but in this era of concerns about concussions, on all levels of football, this video raises some concerns. The last minute of the video shows clips highlighting the 9 year old girl “taking a hit”. Some of them are quite jarring. Gordon is not even 60 pounds, and there’s a kid on her team who weighs more than 150 – his nickname is Tank.
In his new book, Concussions and Our Kids: America’s Leading Expert On How To Keep Sports Safe And Protect Young Athletes, Dr. Robert Cantu – a clinical professor of neurosurgery at the Boston University School of Medicine — proposes that children should not play tackle football until they are 14 years old. The better game for children under 14 is flag football — in which kids grab flags rather than each other to stop the ball carrier.
Our message to Sam is simple: run, Sam. Run. Run so you can avoid the hits!