Should We Outlaw Tackle Football for Young Children?
For the last few years there has been this concern about children younger than 14 playing tackle football. There are a few states that are attempting to address this issue by outright outlawing those children under 14 from playing tackle football.
Do you agree with this?
According to the Washington Times a bill has been filed in the Maryland General Assembly that would outlaw tackle football for children under the age of 14.
The legislatures in the states of New York, Illinois and California are also looking at bills that would essentially do the same thing.
The bill in Maryland would outlaw tackle football for children under the age of 14 as well as body-checking in lacrosse and hockey and “headers” in soccer. Opponents of this bill say that the state is going a bit too far and becoming what is known as a “nanny state”.
Language in her bill HB 1210 defines a “physical sport” as tackle football, soccer that includes heading, hockey and lacrosse that include checking and “any other sport in which physical activity results in a high risk of head injury.”
The bill in Maryland was introduced by Delegate Terri L. Hill, a Democrat and former plastic surgeon from the Baltimore suburb of Columbia, she was quoted in the article stating:
The question becomes: Do you really want us to err on the side of caution, or on the side of favoring a tradition?...In some cases, the neck muscles aren’t developed well enough in young children that they’re almost like bobblehead dolls [within their helmets]…So the helmet may protect them from a fracture, but it doesn’t protect them from the brain flopping back and forth inside the skull.
Mrs. Hill’s legislation was written in part by former University of Maryland and NFL player Madieu Williams. Mr, Williams played for nine years in the NFL and he was quoted in the article stating:
One of the first things I always communicate to our constituents is to let them know: This bill is not to tell you not to play football…what this bill is saying is to delay tackling in football.
Dion Golatt a Maryland resident who served as a youth football coach for 17 years and a commissioner of the Metropolitan Washington American Youth Football League for 10 years before recently stepping down. He believes that the idea is government overreach and was quoted in the article stating:
I think going straight to banning something without having any conversations with the leagues that are in the state, the leaders of those leagues … I haven’t seen where that’s been done…I was commissioner of the league for the last 10 years. I never was contacted by any congressman, state senator or anything to talk about the issues or concerns. To go from zero to 100 so fast definitely doesn’t seem like the right way to go about it.
Now I ask you, do you believe that the best way to address the concerns of tackle football is to initiate an entire ban on tackle football for children under the age of 14?
Proponents of the bill believe the children can still be taught the game of football at the younger age their bill states through flag football, seven-on-seven or two-hand touch.
Should the decision for children to play tackle football at any age be left up to the parents as long as they have been fully informed of the possible dangers and how the league is addressing those dangers?