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Should youth tackle football be banned?

Posted at: 02/15/2013 8:39 PM
Updated at: 02/15/2013 8:51 PM
By: Ray Levato

A New York State Assemblyman from downstate wants to ban tackle football for kids aged ten and younger.  He says it is dangerous because of concussions.

When a kid gets his bell rung, is it more serious if he's nine or 10 years old than if were 15? One local expert says yes and that's why concussions among younger players are more dangerous.

Many coaches and parents say youth football provides exercise and teaches teamwork among other things and is no more dangerous than other sports kids play. But experts say there is a difference in how younger brains are affected by a concussion.
   
Dr. Mark Mirabelli is an Assistant Professor of Sports Medicine at the University of Rochester's Department of Orthopedics & Family Medicine.

Dr. Mark Mirabelli, UR Dept. Orthopedics & Family Medicine said, “We know that the younger people are, unlike most bone and joint injuries where young people heal quickly, we know with brain injuries, young people actually take longer to heal. So certainly people who have concussions or other hits to their head, are going to take longer to heal when they're ten as opposed to when they're 15 or when they're fully mature in their early 20's.”

News10NBC spoke Jim Disessa, President of the Local American Youth Football and Cheerleading League with 3500 kids locally ages seven and up. He says the proposed law interferes with the parents' rights.

Jim Disessa, American Youth Football and Cheerleading League President, said, “I think the decision to play a contact sport or any sport for that matter, or anything youth are involved, should be between the parents and their children. I think there's always a risk. But I don't think it's any greater than skate boarding or a lot of other things that kids do today.”

Statistics show that there are more concussions in youth soccer than in football. But football is still considered a bigger risk sport because many more kids play soccer than football.

Dr. Mirabelli said, “So in other words there are more people who play soccer, but there is a lower rate of them getting concussions than in football.”

State Senator Joe Robach says he would be opposed to banning youth football. Robach says with the right equipment and safety practices, youth football teaches kids team work, exercise and fitness, and discipline. And if Assemblyman Benedetto doesn't want his children to play football, “don't sign them up”.
   
Sen. Michael Nozzolio, who co-sponsored the state's new concussion law, that sits a player down for 24 hours and needs a doctor's okay to return draws the line there.
He says the decision of whether or not a child should play a sport is one that should be made by the parents  not the state legislature.