Atlanta middle schools to offer girls flag football in 2019

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ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Public Schools will begin offering flag football for seventh- and eighth-grade girls in 2019.

The school district will become one of the largest in the country to offer flag football as a scholastic sport to middle school girls. All 13 Atlanta middle schools are set to participate.

The program will be officially announced on Tuesday. It is being established with financial assistance from USA Football, ESPN and the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.

USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck says the program will set "a great example for school districts nationwide," creating opportunities for a new group of potential student-athletes.

According to the Sport and Fitness Industry Association's 2018 participation report, about 171,000 girls ages 6 to 17 took part in flag football at the core level, an increase of more than 22 percent from the previous year.

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