North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Womens Flag Football is on the rise

NFL Flag Football Championships

Over the past few years, women’s flag football has grown from an almost unknown sport to a sport played nationwide that thousands of girls play. What started as a small extracurricular activity at a handful of schools is now a sport that over 500,000 women in the U.S. love and play. But what sparked the sudden popularity? There are various reasons, but first, the question of what flag football is needs to be answered. 

 In comparison to regular tackle football, flag football is played on a short field 30 yards wide and 70 yards long, has less contact overall, and has only 5-7 players on the field at a time. However, they both have similar positions and have the same objective of scoring points by moving the ball down the field and crossing the goal line. Overall, flag football is a safer option for those uninterested in the contact aspect of football but would like to participate in the general concepts of football. A great example of that is girls who have found a home in their local flag football teams, as many were denied the opportunity to play on their school’s football teams but were able to join their flag football team and become a part of the widespread community of flag football. 

 Across the United States, girls have 1.3 million fewer high school athletic opportunities than boys, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. Restricted opportunities are one of the main reasons teenage girls stop playing sports and, in turn, have fewer high school athletic opportunities. But with the expansion of flag football, which has clearly been chosen as the sport of choice for many, the habit of girls quitting a beloved sport during their teen years has become less continuous. 

 In addition to that, many girls who, as children, enjoyed playing football no longer need to quit because there are no longer opportunities because flag football is being recognized as a varsity sport in many states like California, New York, and Arizona. Numerous collegiate-level flag football women athletes report being relieved they no longer had to play with boys, but now there are other girls who share a similar interest in the sport. 

 Access to flag football leagues and programs, which makes it easier for girls to get involved, is definitely one of the main reasons for the uptick in players nationwide, but there are several other reasons. One of them is social media. Platforms such as TikTok and Instagram are great ways for leagues to show off their players with highlight videos or pictures, and those posts almost always gain extreme popularity with thousands, if not millions, of likes and shares.

 Social media’s impact on sports worldwide is immense, but it is especially impactful regarding flag football. Since many girls childhoods, the idea of playing football seemed like a far-off idea because of the availability of programs to support their interests and the overall uncooperative attitude regarding them playing, but with the more recent advertising of flag football online, many girls now feel hopeful that they too can participate in the sport without feeling judged or incapable like the girls they see online. 

 The desire to play flag football has certainly grown recently, with half a million girls between the ages of 6 and 17 playing flag football, but desire is not the factor in being able to play. It is the fuel for the fire. Parental support is also a huge factor. In tackle football, 455,449 high school football players sustained injuries, the most common being head and face concussions, and ¼ of those injuries occurred after being tackled.

In addition to that, 10% of all college players and 20% of all high school players sustain permanent brain injuries. Statistics like those previously presented daunt parental figures and are one of the main reasons that they choose not to allow their children to play. But with the lower amount of contact and tackling that happens during a standard flag football game, parents are more likely to allow their children to play.

“I think it’s a great idea for Niles North to create an actual team in addition to the powderpuff game they host during the fall.”

— Sophomore, Lauren Syfu

 The increased popularity of women playing flag football has sparked the interest of students at Niles North. 

“I think it’s a great idea for Niles North to create an actual team in addition to the powderpuff game they host during the fall,” sophomore Lauren Syfu said. 


Her opinion is similar to that of many female students who currently participate in sports here at Niles North. As the numbers of women who play flag football rise, is it time for Niles North to join the family that flag football fosters? 

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About the Contributor
Lolah Slagg
Lolah Slagg, Reporter
Lolah is a sophomore at Niles North and this is her first year on North Star News. In her free time she enjoys playing soccer, reading, or hanging out with friends.

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