Author Topic: Weight Limits - I'm Just Saying  (Read 717 times)

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Weight Limits - I'm Just Saying
« on: September 30, 2022, 09:22:24 pm »
This hit home.

ďI wish I could just eat real food.Ē These are not healthy words you want to hear from your 8, 10, or 12 year old but they are what a lot of parents in my area are hearing this time of year.
If youíve been following me for a while, you know youth football is one of my familyís passions. On the football field is where my boys have experienced their greatest struggles as well as their greatest triumphs. My husband has coached since my now Junior in high school was in 3rd grade.

But things are not good or safe it took until 2 weeks ago for me to really see it.

Our league is the only youth sports league in our area that has a maximum weight for players. And at 5í11Ē tall and nearly 14 years old, my youngest son started the football season well over that weight.
Before the season started, we tried to convince him to join one of the many other leagues around that donít have a weight limit or explore the possibility of moving up to the high schoolís Freshman team but he didnít want to do any of that.

He wanted to spend his last year of youth football playing with his friends in the league heís been in for the last 7 years.
And so we supported him on a workout plan and helped him clean up his eating. For 6 weeks he worked out every day - on top of the teamís regular workouts. He skipped cake at birthday parties, ate grilled chicken while his friends ate cheeseburgers and fries, and always chose water over any other drink option.

At 13 years old, he showed more dedication than any adult Iíve ever met.

But, it didnít matter.

The first game of the season came and he was still 4 pounds overweight.

He was devastated and when I saw his face after the weigh-in process (which happens off to the side of the football field about 30 minutes before the game), my heart broke. I cried. My husband cried. My son cried. He would not be able to play the game he loves because he weighed too much - no accounting for his height, stature, or bmi - just because of a random number on a scale.
Then he shook it off and stood on the sidelines for the entire game, helping his teammates.

Heíd try again for week 2.

One week later he made weight. He walked away from the weigh-in shed after being told he was light enough to play. But he wasnít beaming like I thought he would be. His face was expressionless really - maybe relief, maybe happiness, but mostly exhaustion.

Right there on the sidelines, I started crying. Partly because I was so proud of him but also partly out of guilt and anger. Why are we part of something that feels so unsafe and unnecessary? We already know the risks football carries with it - why are we adding other potential risks on top of it? Is it really safe for teens and tweens and 8 year olds to be focused on a number on the scale?
After just a few minutes of play, he took himself out of the game as he was about to pass out. It was there, in that moment, that I decided it was time to learn more about weight limits.
I spent the next week, while on vacation, combing through research and what I found was shocking.

There is no research that supports the use of weight limits in football. None. It does not actually keep smaller kids safer despite being told that by various members of the youth football community for years.
There is, however, lots of research that suggests that weight limits in youth sports lead to things like disordered eating, depression, and many other physical illnesses.

I shared the research with other parents and received email after email and text after text from parents with children like my son who just wanted to play football with their friends but to do so had to ďcut weight.Ē
I reached out to the president who oversees the entire league of 28 towns to find out if he could share the research the league uses to support the weight limit.

After 6 days and 2 emails, he reached out to me and admitted, in writing, that there is no research used by the league to back their decision around weight limits. Instead, he shared ďthere is a large part of the league that believes for every weight increase we allow, or bigger kids we let play, there will be an equal number of smaller kids who will drop out due to the size disparity."

Armed with the undeniable confirmation that the weight limits are not in place to protect anyone and instead are there because maybe smaller kids wonít register to play, I compiled all of the data, research, parent commentary, and signatures from parents throughout the league and submitted it to the league director, all of the presidents throughout every town in the league, and each townís league representative.
Officially, my 20+ pages of research and insights has been met with silence.

Unofficially my phone hasnít stopped ringing and my email box is flooded with story after story from parents, coaches, and board members from many towns throughout the league who are frustrated like me and want to see change but find the current channels of change aren't working.

Their stories have made me cry each day - confirmation of players with disordered eating, depression, and even suicide attempts linked directly to not making weight for football.
Unofficially Iíve also had multiple people share with me that the president of the league will not be calling a special meeting, will not be acting on any of the safety concerns presented to him, and will not be forced into doing anything because of me.

This story doesnít have an ending yet but Iím not going to be quiet. I believe so strongly that what our children and teens need are programs and sports options that challenge them in healthy ways, that present them with obstacles that can be overcome by hard work, effort and skill, not trash bag runs, saunas, starving themselves, and public shaming about their weight.

My biggest regret in all this is that I didnít say something my very first year in youth football as I watched 8 year olds struggle to ďmake weight.Ē My gut knew then that it was wrong but I went along with it because surely any league providing sports opportunities for our kids must be making their decisions from a point of safety, right?

What Iíve learned is that when your gut tells you something is wrong but people around you tell you itís fine, itís ok to trust your gut and see for yourself.

Itís ok to speak up.
Itís ok to reach out.
Itís ok to shine light on the dark spots in our life.
Itís ok to make noise.
Itís ok to be labeled as a parent who is stirring the pot.

Itís ok to want better for our children.

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Re: Weight Limits - I'm Just Saying
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2022, 07:01:18 am »
Well, I donít really care for weight limits myself, but rules are rules and thatís just how the cookie crumbles. Iím all for someone trying to change the rules for the betterment of all, and applaud you for it.  That being saidÖ. I call BS
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Re: Weight Limits - I'm Just Saying
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2022, 05:58:34 pm »
I approve the weight limit rule! Itís a great rule. Way more positives then negatives.
Coach & Official
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Re: Weight Limits - I'm Just Saying
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2022, 10:09:53 pm »
Iím confused.  There is no max weight limit in 6th and 7th grade.  Based on the age you listed, Iím guessing he is a 7th grader.  Why couldnít he play?  Something doesnít add up
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Re: Weight Limits - I'm Just Saying
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2022, 10:40:51 am »
Simple fix honestly. Go play for a different league. This league has been around for years and there is a reason it is the biggest league in Oklahoma. (I'm assuming there isn't a league bigger than INFC). Why don't you go on strike against wrestling?? Those kids cut weight on a daily basis. But they know going into the sport that cutting weight is going to happen. And going into football, you know there is a max weight limit before getting started and now that you were unsuccessful in making weight now you want to throw a fit?? I'm sure if the league said "We will let your kiddo play. We will overlook the 4-5 pounds he is over" then you wouldn't be advocating for the rest of the kids. Just be honest, this is only about your kid. Either pull the weight or go play in a different league. Not that tough of a decision.
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Re: Weight Limits - I'm Just Saying
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2022, 11:18:17 am »
the entire post is BS!!!

maybe the kid was to heavy to be be a ball carrier and mom and dad dont want a lineman.
maybe mom and dad should look in the mirror and ask what is the real problem here.

football is not a politically correct sport and should not be forced to become one.

« Last Edit: October 03, 2022, 11:20:06 am by Sdemauro »
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Re: Weight Limits - I'm Just Saying
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2022, 06:09:34 pm »
Football and weight limits donít add up.


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Re: Weight Limits - I'm Just Saying
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2022, 09:08:40 am »
The weight limits are there to protect all players. We don't need a 'study' to determine that a 160 lb kid in the 6th grade (possibly 13 y/o and half way through puberty) could severely injure an average size 6th grader (90 lbs) if the larger kid played RB or LB. It's simple physics.

No weight limit in flag. My son played flag all the way up through 4th grade because as a 1st through 4th grader he would have been over the weight limit to carry the ball. He loved flag and had a blast playing it.

My son didn't 'make weight' last year and he was upset. He was consistently over the ball carrying weight by 10-15 lbs. At 11-12 y/o we weren't about to start cutting weight. He played O-line and learned how to be a decent lineman. He loved being out there, playing a great sport and making new friends.

Fast forward to this season. 7th grade. He's 2 pounds under weight with his pads and helmet on. He worked his tail off the entire offseason (not 6 weeks) to maintain a healthy weight and to eat right. No trash bag runs, no saunas... No soda, no BS foods. No diet. Just common sense eating and regular exercise. Because our team needs him at O tackle, that's where he plays. He can play TE and he has good hands, but the team needs him at tackle. He runs every night with the skill players and maybe in the future he'll make a great TE. Maybe he will be a stud left tackle. Maybe he won't play football... who knows. I guess we will find out. Does he still want to play TE? Yes. Does he still talk about it on the ride home on most nights, yes. My job as a parent is to teach him life skills and how to handle adversity. Not to change the rules so he can be happy.

I didn't ask for a rule change last year and I'm not asking the coach to move him to TE this year.

Football isn't about one kid. We know the rules as parents when we sign up. If you don't like them, you should consider making a league change especially if you feel like it's wrecking your kid. If he's 5'11" and 150, he should learn how to play O and D line. He can literally play anywhere on defense if he has the skill. 11 kids make up each side on every play. Athletic hard working kids will find a spot.

Good luck the rest of the season, whatever grade/league your in.
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Re: Weight Limits - I'm Just Saying
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2022, 05:53:59 pm »
Super confused. My kid is literally just for a 6 th grader. Tall and muscular. But he makes the weight for running the ball. Iím not sure Iím buying this story to be honest. The weight limits are set in place to protect the kids.
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