If you follow football, you’re hearing a lot about concussions these days. That hasn’t escaped the notice of Illinois lawmakers, who are discussing whether they should pass a law regulating how many times a week youth football practices – from high school on down – should include tackling. Dr. Larry Robbins, a Northbrook neurologist, says many health problems for adults stem from playing in their youth.
“These hits start at age 7 and 8 in all these youth leagues and in high school, and most of the damage is done. These kids have underdeveloped nervous systems that aren’t protected by the covering of the brain, until about age 16 or 18,” Robinson says.
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State Rep. Pam Roth (R-Morris), whose son plays football, says limiting tackle practice is punishing players. “Force the coaches to be more responsible in teaching them how to properly tackle, instead of us being Big Brother, that we like to be, and telling them how to do their jobs,” Roth said.
During a committee debate, many who are in support of making football safer suggested requiring coaches to have proper training in teaching players to tackle properly and in identifying injuries, such as concussions.
H.B. 1205 is in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.