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California Could Be The First State To Ban Youth Football

California Could Be The First State To Ban Youth Football

California could become the first state to ban tackle youth football if a proposed law is approved. On Thursday, California lawmakers introduced the “Safe Youth Football Act,” that would prohibit children from playing football before high school. Assembly members Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) introduced the bill to outlaw tackle football until kids were in 9th grade and it could go into effect by next year.

The lawmakers introduced the bill to ban tackle youth football after several studies were released about the health dangers facing kids who played tackle football. Some medical professionals have said that tackle football could lead to children suffering concussions and brain damage from tackles, hits, and blocking. The research indicates that repetitive brain trauma from football could cause long-term brain damage.

“The science is clear: head injuries sustained at a young age can harm kids for the rest of their lives,” Gonzalez Fletcher said in a statement. “Developing skills through flag football before high school is sound public policy from a health and safety standpoint.”

“The Superbowl may be over, but the risk of brain injury to kids who play tackle football remains,” McCarty said. “The Golden State’s children need to know that no touchdown or interception is worth long-term damage to their brains caused by tackle football.”

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey found that 48% of Americans say they’d “encourage a child who wanted to play football to play a different sport due to concerns about concussions,” up 8 points from four years ago. Then there were 49% of Americans who said they wouldn’t encourage a child to play another sport due to concerns about head injuries. In 2013, the NFL reached a $765 million settlement over concussion-related brain injuries among its 18,000 retired players. It does not appear that there was legislation to ban youth soccer, ice hockey, wrestling, lacrosse, or volleyball. In a 2017 study, girls soccer had a much higher rate of concussions compared to football. In fact, football was fourth on the list behind girls’ soccer, girls’ volleyball, and girls’ basketball in concussions as a percentage of total injuries.