NFL youth flag football is popular in Cedar Rapids, but it’s been hit hard by COVID-19

Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 7:53 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The NFL Youth flag football league that has become very popular in Cedar Rapids has been canceled this summer.

“The first thing that we wanted to think about is the safety of the kids, the grandparents and the parents,” Arnold Smith, president of Cedar Rapids Youth NFL Flag Football, said. “We had no choice just thinking about it. I am even one of the people that are very very scared of this virus I know how important and how deadly it is.”

The pandemic has hit NFL Flag Football League President Arnold Smith hard. He buried his dad Austin last Friday after passes away from COVID-19.

“My mom initially got infected by this at work, and unfortunately my dad caught it at home,” Smith said. “We actually thought he was getting better. He really didn’t have any symptoms no temperature, no coughing, and his breathing was affected by it. Slowly he died in the hospital. My dad was a very strong proud, and he didn’t even let us know what was happening because he didn’t want us to worry. It’s shocking, it’s surreal because none of us thought for one minute this would affect us or even take away our loving father.”

Because they couldn’t hold the league this summer Arnold wanted to do something special for the players, so he is holding a one-day camp with Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl winner Tyreek Hill July 18th at Kingston Stadium.

“They call him the cheetah,” Smith said. “He will come out sometimes and invite the parents out to come race. He races the kids. He is really all about the kids, and he has a lot of fun when he does these camps.”

Also, so the players don’t miss out on a whole season Arnold is moving the league indoors this winter to the FC United indoor complex. The league will start December first with the Super Bowl held on February 28th.

“It is just another outlet for kids to kind of let go some worries and kind of forget about just their daily lives,” Smith said. “Whether it’s even an hour a day you know being able to do these things. We are very lucky to be able to at least do this over the winter.”

I’m glad the kids will get the chance to play this winter and my condolences go out to Arnold and his family.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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