Saturday, February 9, 2013

NY politician pushes to ban peewee football throughout state

The discussions over the increasing number of football head injuries are sprouting up everywhere from Pop Warner fields, high school gyms, the NFL Commissioner's office and all the way up the the White House.

Suggestions on how to stem the tide of serious, long-lasting health concerns have included everything from upgrading equipment, limiting what constitutes a legal tackle and/or fining and suspending players for flagrant hits.

Now one New York politician wants to take it one step further and has quietly introduced legislation to prohibit children younger than 11 from playing organized tackle football anywhere in the state, according to The New York Daily News.

"I want to protect the children," said Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benedetto. "I want them to get an appreciation of the game but I also don't want them to come out of this wonderful sport in a damaged condition."

Benedetto's push to ban the sport for children is the first such proposal in the nation.

President Obama recently publicized the debate over kids playing football when he said he would think twice about allowing a son, if he had one, to play football.

And a newly-released book by Dr. Robert Cantu, a Boston neurosurgeon, urged kids under 14 to avoid the sport altogether.

Benedetto agrees with the doctor's assertion that big hits on little children could be hazardous to their health in the future.

"I think the evidence is now out there that kind of warrants another look at youth activities," he said Friday.

Youth football officials have debunked Benedetto's bill as an overreaction to a few high-profile incidents involving college and pro players.

"This is absolutely the first we have heard of any state doing something like this," said John Button, executive director of Pop Warner Football. "Frankly, it is disturbing."

More than 250,000 children — some as young as 5 — play tackle football in Pop Warner leagues across the country.

Benedetto said it's too early to tell whether the bill will pass the Assembly this session and is still looking for a sponsor to take it to the State Senate.

State Sen. Martin Golden gave the proposal little chance of success in the conservative Senate.

"Somebody always wants to regulate something," he said. "And regulating 6 and 7-year-olds playing football is not the place to do it."

Still. Where's there's smoke, there's fire — especially with the blades of the helicopter-parent society of today fanning the flames.


  1. Sure, why not.Lets take away ALL exercise for our already wonderfully fit youth. Maybe let them play all games "virtually" on their X-Boxes and Playstation 3's,while they sit on the couch eating pizza and chips for 10 hours at a pop....

    1. Thanks, you took the words right out of my mouth. It's hard enough to get kids out of the house to do anything involving exercise. If don't want your kid to play football then buy him a PlayStation. I'm sure he will love you for that.

    2. Flaf football would accomplish the same thing while reducing the possibility of injury significantly. Having seen a fait share of youth football, I believe it is more about the aging parents trying to recoup some of their lost or never had childhood experiences rather than a legitimate youth activity. And the pressure put on children to not only play youth football but to be successful at it is unnecessary at that age. Can't we allow them to enjoy being kids without the added pressure of parents yelling and screaming at them from the sidelines?

  2. Really we have alot worse concerns for children today than some kneejerk politician trying to make a name for himself.maybe he should concentrate on all the kids getting rapped and abused drunk driving drugs etc has more good than bad

  3. I want to abolish our current politicians,Unless they can prove their worth!And I dont mean lip service,I mean an independent review that either gives em a thumbs up or down and if its down then they are OUT!

  4. This is the dumbest thing I have heard about in a very long time.I doubt there is any sport for boys and girls as well organized and carried out as well the Pop Warner program. There are so many single moms now; and this program gives their children an opportunity to interact with really good coaches and mentors. Practices begins in the fall when kids are really getting bored and keeps them so busy they don't even think about getting into trouble. Academics play a big role in Pop Warner, it is very simple--keep your grades up or don't play or cheerlead! This program teaches children purpose, honor, fairness, respect and dedication. AND, it is entirely private with scholarships for children who do ot have the money to join. This program does not cost taxpayers one thin dime. The president really shouldn't offer opinions about programs he obviously doesn't understand!! My husband was a coach and regional director for Pop Warner. When he died many of the boys he coached, came back 20 years later for his funeral.This is a demonstration of the honor and respect these kids are thought. Shame on anyone who would try and limit this critical program for our youth.

  5. Because kids don't hit their heads playing video games. Let's not encourage anyone to learn teamwork or get some exercise. This knee-jerk headline grabbing needs to stop