This week, lawmakers from Illinois and New York have proposed bills that would ban tackle football for children younger than ages 12 and 13. Both legislation attempts are two of the latest efforts to help protect young children from the risks of traumatic brain injuries and permanent neurological damage later in life. Efforts have picked up steam in light of a Boston University study last year that concluded boys who play football before their 12th birthday have a higher risk of brain damage than guess this... Boys who don't.
I'm far from one of those giddy old men who think penalties and safety precautions are ruining the game. I've suffered a few concussions in my days of contact sports; including one while playing football in 7th grade that temporarily left me with the short-term memory of a goldfish. Concussions are no joking matter, nor are the efforts to minimize them in the brains of developing children.
But here's a crazy idea - why don't we leave this kind of decision to the parents and guardians involved? People get pissed when told how to parent - how is it any different when coming from a legislator?
Imagine yourself watching your child play pee-wee football and some guy in a suit approaches you. He introduces himself and cites how dangerous the sport is, going as far as to tell you that little Jimmy shouldn't be playing. The man then proceeds to walk onto the field waving his arms and yelling for all the kids to get off. You'd ask yourself, "who's this asshole and why's he telling my kids what to do?"