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N.Y. bill aims to ban tackle football for children under 12

January 24, 2018 / Football
A New York lawmaker says he will reintroduce legislation this week that seeks to ban tackle football statewide for children under the age of 12.

According to The New York Times, state assemblyman Michael Benedetto, who sponsors the bill, faces long odds in getting legislation to the governor’s desk. His hope is that new research will finally convince others that tackle football is more dangerous for young children.

Benedetto’s bill would ban tackle football in youth leagues and schools across New York, which would have a significant impact on Pop Warner. He named his bill the John Mackey Youth Football Protection Act, after the former NFL tight end who developed dementia and died in 2011. 

From The Times:

Doctors note that head hits absorbed by young players are more damaging because their brains are not fully developed, and are less capable of fully repairing themselves. Younger players also have weaker neck muscles, and therefore are less capable of bracing for impact and supporting the weight of a football helmet.

“Some of my colleagues quibble that the science has not determined which age is the right age, but they don’t seem to realize that health experts set age minimums for all sorts of activities like drinking, smoking and driving, and the science is never purely black and white,” said Dr. Robert Cantu, the co-founder and medical director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, who has studied head trauma in children for years.

Research has overwhelmingly concluded that repeated blows to the head — not only concussions, but sub-concussive hits — could have lasting effects. In 2016, former NFL quarterback Shaun Hill convinced his hometown in Kansas to drop tackle football, and most other bans have been implemented at the community levels.

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