NY lawmakers considering measure to ban kids under 12 from playing tackle football

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York State lawmakers are considering a measure that would ban kids twelve and younger from playing tackle football.

State lawmakers met in New York City this morning to hear testimony on youth tackle football. Some doctors say there’s too much risk and that it’s a “collision sport that can cause brain damage.”

“The developing brain may be at a higher risk of injury. Brain maturation peaks at ages 8 to 12 with a growth spurt in the latter part of the first decade. The immature brain is more susceptible to injury because it is still developing,” Mark Drakos, M.D, Orthopedic Surgeon, said.

Dr. Drakos says that the majority of impacts in the sport are “sub-concussive” meaning they may not show signs of a concussion-like memory loss or headache.

“We are discovering that these sub-concussive impacts may be silent injuries but are a cause of increasing concern.”

Meanwhile, the CEO of USA Football came to support youth tackle football saying “today’s game is safer than it’s ever been before.”

“Parents do not want their government telling them when their kids can play football. They want to make informed decisions for themselves,” Scott Hallenbeck, USA Football CEO, said.

The executive director of Pop Warner Little Scholars says the proposed ban “misses the mark.”

“It is different today than even 10 or 15 years ago because of mandated coaching education, rules changes guided by medical professionals, a change in culture inside the game and greater awareness around concussions and contact in general,” Jon Butler, Pop Warner Little Scholars Executive Director, said.

Similar versions of the bill have been introduced since 2013.

There is no Senate version of the current bill at hand. It currently sits in the Assembly Health Committee.

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