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Massachusetts bill aims to ban tackling in youth football

February 28, 2019 / Football
Massachusetts lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban tackle football statewide until the eighth grade.

The bill was filed last month and has bipartisan support, though its too early to tell if that support is widespread throughout the legislature. The “No Organized Head Impacts to Schoolchildren bill” is aimed at protecting children from debilitating head injuries.

“Soccer has age restrictions for head contact. Lacrosse has age restrictions. Hockey has age restrictions for head contact. Football doesn’t,” Rep. Paul A. Schmid III, one of the bill’s sponsors, told The Boston Herald. “We otherwise wouldn’t want to get involved in youth sports, but it turns out (football) doesn’t have a national federation like those other sports.”

  » RELATED: Study suggests tackle football should wait until high school

Under the law, leagues would be restricted to non-contact play, like flag football. USA Football encourages youth leagues to use a similar developmental model to teach the game before advancing to contact, but there is no mandate. With the Massachusetts bill, any organization that violates to ban could be fined up to $2,000. Subsequent violations to cost an organization $5,000, and fines could increase to $10,000 in the event of an injury.

In a poll on The Boston Herald website, 78 percent of readers say they do not agree with the bill.

Read more from The Boston Herald.


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