Massachusetts Mulling Ban on Youth Tackle Football

Youth Football
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
WARNER TODD HUSTON

Massachusetts legislators are mulling a ban on tackle football, according to a report.

Not only would the new bill ban youth tackle football, but it would also impose a fine of $2,000 on any organization that might allow kids to play contact football.

According to a bipartisan group of House members, tackle football is “more harmful to young players than previously thought,” as WGBH reported.

“We’re not banning football. Touch football, flag football, great. Up through the seventh grade, go to it,” said bill sponsor Rep. Paul Schmid (D-Westport). “What we’re saying is, for seventh grade and under, no tackle football.”

“There’s a lot of science … that says we got to be really careful with young heads,” Schmid added.

Rep. Schmid went on to insist that the state must step-in to ban tackle football for the whole state because there is no state-wide authority to handle rules for youth sports.

House Minority Leader Brad Jones added that the data lawmakers used to back the ban is “just so compelling.”

“I think people need to continue to have this conversation and become more aware of it,” Jones added.

Lawmakers relied on information provided by Concussion Legacy Foundation Co-Founder Chris Nowinski, a former NFL football player.

“There’s evidence out of the Boston University CTE Center that football players who started before age 12 were worse off long-term, with higher rates of depression, higher rates of anxiety, higher rates of memory issues than those who started at 12 or later,” Nowinski said. according to WGBH.

If Massachusetts were to pass the bill, it would become the first state to ban tackle football for its children.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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