BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — For the first time, NFL Flag Football will be coming to Bonita Springs.

And its doing so despite a rise in Covid-19 variants across the country. With that said, the season is going to look a little different for some.

The venue will be Bonita Springs High School. In the bleachers, plenty of parents will be sitting as they watch their kids take the field this fall. And they’ll be able to do so either masked up or mask less- the choice will be up to them. But those with the organization say the safety of all involved will be taken with the highest priority.

“We will work in coordination with the Bonita Springs High School, the Lee County School District, the Bonita Springs City Council, the State of Florida- anybody and everybody to make sure that our children are absolutely 100% safe and still 100% get out of the house and get some good clean exercise and have some fun,” said Peter Simmons, NFL Flag Football of Bonita Springs.

Practices and games will be played at Bonita Springs High School, with games starting Sundays in October. Those with the school say they couldn’t be more excited to be the hosts, as the sport continues to grow within the community.

“It’s America’s game, right?” says Leah Mason, Athletic & Activities Director at Bonita Springs High School. “But Bonita Springs, you know, we hold a special place for our Bull Shark family here. I think bringing the kids around and just having this apart of our community and being local and watching the kids grow up here, I think it’ll be really great.”

It does- however- come at a time where the country has seen a rise in Covid-19 cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 7-day average case number for Collier County is 307. But those with NFL Flag Football say that sign up has been steady and they have seen a number of players sign up already.

“As soon as I saw the sign, I said, ‘Heck yes,'” said Tim Robinson. Robinson is a coach and referee with the organization. He’s also the parent of one of its players. He told us the the decision to have his son play or not was based on their family’s lifestyle.

“We knew a couple people who had gotten it but for us and our choice, we thought no masks- just play sports and we’ll take it from there,” he said.

But no matter the reason, all involved are looking forward to the season ahead.

“I think, not only is it for the kids but I think it’s going to be a great social event for parents as well,” said Mason.

Said Simmons, “We’re looking to make it convenient, fun, safe, friendly and, of course, competitive.”

If your child is interested in playing flag football this fall, you can find more information on how to register online right here.

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