Tackle Football Ban Clears House Committee

Mar 1, 2018

Legislation that would ban tackle football for children under 12 narrowly advanced in the Illinois House today.

Supporters of the ban gave lengthy testimony before a House committee — complete with a child-sized dummy in football gear being repeatedly hit over the head. But several questions remain about the research and details of the proposal … like why age 12?

Former college football player Chris Nowinski, of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, says research suggests 8-13 is a critical age for brain development.

“Almost all of us who played at a high level recognize that kids shouldn’t play but there’s a small debate within our own community of, is it middle school or is it high school? So, to have a bigger tent and more support from people in the football community we said we’ll start with 12 and if we want to move it to 14 in the future we can.”

Though more than a hundred people registered as opponents of the legislation, none were present at the hearing.

The measure passed, but just barely — several legislators said they didn’t think opponents were given enough notice of the hearing.