Should Youth Tackle Football Be Banned to Prevent Concussions?

Children and young adults can sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in various ways, from motor vehicle collisions and bicycle accidents to recreational activities and sports. TBIs and concussions, in particular, are notably dangerous because they can have long-term consequences, especially when kids sustain multiple concussions. While TBIs in various types of accidents are always preventable (meaning that they can be avoided if all parties drive safely and avoid negligent behaviors), many safety advocates emphasize that there is a clear way to prevent concussions in youth sports: ban tackle football. Recently, there was a legislative effort in California to ban tackle football for children under the age of 12, which was ultimately rejected.

Should younger kids be able to play tackle football? Data from the CDC suggests that it is especially dangerous. Our Rancho Bernardo personal injury attorneys can tell you more.

Proposed Legislation to Ban Tackle Football in California

California legislators put forward a proposal to ban tackle football in California for kids under the age of 12, but Governor Gavin Newson indicated he would not sign it if it came to his desk, making clear that the bill would fail. But what did the legislators intend to do, and would this type of law reduce brain injuries among youth athletes?

The proposal aimed to “gradually ban tackle football for children under 12 by 2029,” according to ESPN, and it cleared an initial legislative committee after it was put forward. The author of the proposal, Kevin McCarty, issued a written statement indicating that he would not push the proposal forward without support from the governor, but said: “I do look forward to the Governor’s invitation to work on ways to better protect our youngest athletes and keep them safe from repetitive head hits which can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).” The governor promised to improve safety in youth football “while ensuring parents have the freedom to decide which sports are most appropriate for their children.”

Getting the Facts About Tackle Football and Youth Athletes

The proposal intended to have younger kids play flag football at least until the age of 12 in order to avoid concussions, including repetitive concussions, given that head impacts continue to occur with frequency among teen football players. Indeed, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes that there is an urgent need for new efforts to prevent head impacts in youth tackle football. One of the ways of reducing head impacts is, according to the study, to switch to flag football.

The CDC study, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Sports Health, revealed that kids between the ages of 6 and 14 who play tackle football suffer “15 times more head impacts than flag football athletes during a practice or game.” In addition, kids who play tackle football experience “23 times more high-magnitude head impacts” compared with flag football players. During a given season, youth football players in tackle football sustain a mediation of 378 head impacts for each athlete, compared with a median of 8 head impacts for each athlete in flag football. In sum, the study revealed that flag football could be an alternative to tackle football for younger athletes to reduce concussion rates.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Rancho Bernado

If your child sustained a brain injury, it is important to reach out to a lawyer for assistance. An experienced Rancho Bernardo personal injury attorney at our firm can assess your case and discuss your options for filing a claim. Contact the Walton Law Firm to get started.


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