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New York Democrats seek ban on tackle football for children

By Elizabeth Delaney
|
February 10, 2023

The question of whether or not the NFL was getting too dangerous was spotlighted last month when Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field in cardiac arrest.

A reporter posed that question to President Biden, according to mediaite, and now New York Democrats are taking that and running with it.

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto argues youth football causes CTE

A bill is being sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto (D-Bronx) that would prevent children 12 and younger from being able to play tackle football because of the risk that it could cause CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), according to the New York Post.

Benedetto argues that since soccer and hockey have banned heading and body checks for kids, that football ought to ban tackling.

"Those sports have recognized the inherent danger that is in those sports and they’re trying to protect young kids," Benedetto told the New York Post.

"Football hasn’t done that yet and so when they don’t do it, there’s a responsibility of us in government to try to protect those kids," he added.

Benedetto has been working toward the bill being made into the law for 10 years, and Hamlin's heart attack has apparently helped him to gain some traction, even though Hamlin's heart attack and CTE have nothing to do with each other.

CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) is not exclusive to sports injuries

CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) is a degenerative brain disorder that can be caused by repeated head injuries, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

The condition can occur in athletes who play contact sports such as boxing, football and ice hockey, and is most likely to be seen among those who play on a professional level.

However, the condition can also develop in someone who doesn't play sports at all, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

The Cleveland Clinic also notes that the average age of those who have confirmed cases of CTE is about 42 or 43 years old.

Senator Luis Sepúlveda introducing bill to upper chamber

Benedetto has persuaded state Senator Luis Sepúlveda (D-Bronx) to introduce the bill in the upper chamber for the first time, according to Fox News.

"While the Super Bowl is an awful lot of fun, it's not fun when you see young children run around, playing a game that they are hitting their heads, dozens to a hundred times a week – brains that are rapidly developing," Benedetto said in a Thursday press conference.

Youth coaches and kids just need correct training

Billy Kent, the president of Schenectady-Belmont Pop Warner football, said that kids need to be taught the correct techniques at a young age.

"You get a lot faster, you get bigger, you get stronger, and without the proper techniques on how to tackle and how to hit, then you can really see a lot of injuries on that [teenager] level," Kent told WNYT.

He went on to state what takes place in order to have the right coaches in place when young kids are being taught how to play football.

"All the coaches are certified, and they have to go through a certain amount of training in order to be able to teach these things to the kids," Kent said.

Dr. Thomas Chattathil of St. Peter's Sports Medicine believes it should ultimately be up to parents to decide what's best for their children.

"It depends on how you train your child, and how much confidence you have in your child and their ability to keep themselves safe. "

Schenectady-Belmont Pop Warner football program growing

Kent went on to tell WNYT that since he's been a part of the program in 2020, the program has seen a great deal of growth each year.

They are presently up to over two hundred students who want to join the program, and they are anticipating that more will want to participate in the upcoming season.