Bill in Illinois state legislature would ban tackle football for kids younger than 12

Photo: @ConcussionLF/Twitter screen shot

A group that includes former NFL players and physicians is unveiling a proposed law in Illinois which would ban all tackle football for athletes younger than 12 in the state.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Dave Duerson Act is being unveiled Thursday by a group that is focused on the long-term impact on the brain of repeated blows to the head on the field. The proposed bill is named after the former Chicago Bears player who committed suicide in 2011 and was posthumously found to have suffered from CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

The proposed bill will be introduced by state Rep. Carol Sente, a Vernon Hills Democrat. In a press release Sente said the proposed bill is “aimed at helping youth enjoy the game while reducing long-term health risks.”

Among those speaking in support of the act on Thursday were two former Chicago Bears: Otis Wilson and Mike Adamle. Both testified passionately about their hope that children can be better protected in the game that gave them their livelihood, but has impacted their lives.

This isn’t the first time that some have called for the elimination of tackling as a form of youth football to combat the spread of CTE. As the Illinois group has set out, new research has shown that repeated blows to the head can cause CTE, even when they don’t directly lead to a concussion.

Whether the Duerson Act can gain enough support in the Illinois state legislature to actually pass — or even come near to passing — remains to be seen. In the meantime, the fact that the bill is being introduced and leans on new research targeting high school and youth football can only be interpreted as a positive development for those who continue to campaign for an end to tackle football as it currently constituted.

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