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California lawmakers considering banning tackle football for kids

Opponents have launched a petition
Posted: 12:47 PM, Feb 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-02-16 01:43:33Z

California lawmakers are considering banning tackle football for young kids.

Sacramento Assemblyman Kevin McCarty hasn't introduced the bill yet, but parents are already up in arms. 

The bill would create a minimum age to play tackle football, saying the physical risks associated with the game are too dangerous. 

McCarty points to a recent study that found players who started in tackle football before age 12 suffered from more cognitive deficiencies later in life.

Local youth football advocates support kids playing the game, but stress the importance of learning the safest techniques for tackle football. "The proper way of tackling, learning the equipment, it's a lot better for a kid to get used to being able to wear a helmet than waiting until he's probably an 8th grader and never understanding the feel of a helmet," said Dejon Jernagin the vice president of the Kern County Youth Football League.

He says he doesn't support banning tackling in the game. "You put the game 20 years behind if you take away youth football," said Jernagin. 

However, he says concerned parents should know the potential dangers of the game and rest easy knowing the safety and the sport have come a long way. "Youth football, college football, professional football has gotten a whole lot safer with doctors on the sidelines and there's a concussion tent in the NFL," said Jernagin.

He also says that with any sport comes the potential for injury and says it should be up to the parents not lawmakers to decide whether kids play tackle football. "Flag football has its place, 7 on 7 has its place, tackle football has its place and it has its place with younger kids," said Jernagin.

Opponents of the proposal have launched a petition in hopes of shooting the bill down, arguing the decision should be left up to a player's parents. The petition already has more than 30,000 signatures in just a few days.