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California Considering Ban On Tackle Football – 12 And Under

Photo Credit Mark Seffens

One has to wonder if the world has become paranoid surrounding the world of sports in which kids at a young age are getting injured and want to put a ban on physical contact.

One area or state is California where the law makers are planning to introduce a bill that is focused to reduce the risk of brain injury by banning tackle football for children under the age of 12.

We hear that it has gotten past the ten-yard line after a legislative committee voted for the measure to be considered by the state Assembly.

The bill is fully  supported by various advocates who want to protect kids from brain damage but as you can imagine is strongly opposed by coaches in the area who are worried that it would cut off youths from any source of physical activity.

We are told that a legislative committee voted 5 to 2 at a public hearing to further advance the bill authored by Democratic Assembly member Kevin McCarty. 

Thankfully at present it is far from passing and must clear the state Assembly prior to the end of January allowing any chance of becoming a law in 2026.

Any proposed amendments brought forward would slowly be phased in through 2029 and all indications the bill has been gaining wide popularity across the nation, mainly for girls.

Chris Nowinski, CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation and former Harvard football player and WWE professional wrestler recently mentioned “Research has shown tackle football causes brain damage, and the risk increases the longer people play football, said It can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which causes the death of nerve cells in the brain.”

He continued “I don’t have a problem with NFL players, who are adults and understand the risk and are compensated, risking CTE and I can’t imagine a world in which we have children, who don’t understand the risk, doing this for fun (and) taking the same risk with their brain.”

Apparently California’s law currently bans full-contact practices for high school and youth football teams during the offseason and limits them to two practices per week during the preseason and regular season.

A law that took effect in 2021 also requires youth football officials complete concussion and head injury education in addition to other safeguards.

Steve Famiano, a former youth football coach who leads the Save Youth Football California coalition “Flag football is oriented toward leaner, faster kids, and some of the kids we see in tackle football may not have developed yet physically, they may be a little bit overweight or are larger in stature, maybe not the fastest kid on the team.” 

He continued “They fit so perfectly on a youth football team. They get to play offensive line and defensive line. You take that away from those kids, where do they go?”

Tackle football in California (at the high school level) has been declining with Participation dropping by over 18% from 2015 to 2022 from a high of 103,725 players to 84,626 players.

This is according to the California Interscholastic Federation’s participation survey, but overall football participation did increase 5% in 2023 which is a high of 89,178 players.

Noting that safety is followed closely by those involved in the program and is a concern for the parents we are sure that there is more for politicians to be worried about?

If this is the case why not make the football officials and soccer players wear helmets as well as figure skaters?


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Sportswave promotes/broadcasts Amateur Sports within the Lower Mainland.
He was recognized by Ravi Kahlon, BC’s MLA Minister for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation in September 11, 2017.
In December 2022 he was Awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Pin.
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