Democratic New York lawmakers are introducing a bill to ban children from playing tackle football. Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, a Democrat who represents the Bronx in New York City, and state Senate, Democrat Luis Sepulveda, are behind the move.
They introduced the John Mackey Youth Football Protection Act to ban tackle football for kids 12 years old and younger. Benedetto said:
“While the Super Bowl is an awful lot of fun, it’s not fun when you see young children run around, playing a game that they are hitting their heads, dozens to a hundred times a week – brains that are rapidly developing
“Ninety percent of brain development happens up until the age of 12 years old, give or take a year. During this particular time, why are we putting children at risk for injury to their brains?”
Benedetto said the U.S. Youth Soccer National League banned heading before the age of 10.
“Why? To protect the kids brains in soccer,” he said.
“Body checking is outlawed in youth soccer leagues up until the age of 14. Why? Because they want to protect the brain.
“The question is, why hasn’t football, the most dangerous sports when it comes to this, has not said anything about it yet?”
“A lot of institutions that have studied this have said kids should not be playing football at a young age, so why this has taken so long I don’t know.
“I was asked to be the sponsor this year, and I was enthusiastic about it.
“I have an 11-year-old, and I do not want him to have any cognitive impairment due to a sport that he enjoys.”
Pop Warner, the largest youth football organization in the country, said:
“Many of the nation’s leading medical researchers point out that there is no proven connection between youth football and CTE.
“As parents, players, coaches and administrators, we need to know more and we encourage more advanced, unbiased research into this issue.”
Billy Kent, the president of Schenectady-Belmont Pop Warner football, said a ban could end up hurting kids because they don’t learn proper fundamentals.
“You get a lot faster, you get bigger, you get stronger.
“Without the proper techniques on how to tackle and how to hit, then you can really see a lot of injuries on that level.
“All the coaches are certified, they have to go through a certain amount of training in order to be able to teach these things to the kids,” he said.
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