Youth football coaches push back on possible tackle ban in New York state

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(WIVB)– Local youth football leagues are pushing back on a recent proposal that would ban children 12 and under from playing tackle football.

“It’s going to be very difficult for coaches. You think about this, what we do, we’re the foundation of football, without the foundation the house is going to crumble,” said Niagara Falls Junior Football Club Coach Tony Caligiuri.

State lawmakers say banning tackle football among kids would help end head injuries that are often linked to the sport, but youth football coaches argue that kids will be in worse shape later on if they don’t learn how to properly tackle at an early age.

“Teaching heads up football for example, not tackling with your head down but with your head up,” Lancaster Youth Football President Scott Myers. “Not barrowing your head into somebody but wrapping and rolling. Just different techniques that are safer and effective.”

Several youth leagues throughout the city met Saturday at Rescue Fire Hall in North Tonawanda to stand together against this proposal.

“We enjoy this, the kids enjoy it and the families enjoy it,” Myers said. “Everyone of course wants it to be safe and fun and that’s what we strive for, to keep it safe and fun.”

Coaches say banning youth football would also have a trickle down effect and could wipe out youth football as a whole.

No decisions have been made on the proposed ban. State lawmakers will meet again in January to discuss this further.

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