Football injuries are the subject of consternation in recent years as the severity has been realized, exposing a need for safety regulations to reduce risk. In the Illinois General Assembly, there are two bills that focus on football injuries in different ways. A House bill would monitor the amount of tackling during football practices to lower chances of concussions. State Sen. Napoleon Harris (D-Flossmoor), a former NFL player, says he doesn’t know if it will work.
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“Limiting it to one day possibly could be effective but I don’t know if that’s the essence of football. I think proper technique needs to be addressed in making sure we are tackling properly, as well as enhancing our ability to utilize the best equipment that’s available,” Harris said.
The other football bill would require schools to have athletic insurance to pay for injuries that occur to students while they are participating in school athletics. Harris is the sponsor of this bill. “I’m working the other side of the aisle now to make sure that the legislation is proper, it covers all bases and makes sure that we can get it passed, because it’s definitely going to impact a lot of people in various communities across our state, to make sure that any kind of catastrophic injury that happens in the future will be addressed,” Harris said.
Harris says this bill is inspired by Rasul “Rocky” Clark, a former Blue Island Eisenhower High School football player who, due to a football injury, became a quadriplegic. That injury occurred in 2000. Clark has since died.