Banning Youth Football? Not the Answer!
How many state laws do we need? Can’t do this, can’t do that. In Albany, state legislators are considering a ban on youth football. Yep, they say there’s a growing number of young football players who suffer head injuries and there could soon be a couple of bills being introduced in the State Assembly and the Senate that would ban kids under the age of 11 from playing football. Over a quarter million kids play Pop Warner football across the country.
What’s the real problem? I think it’s coaches who have no business coaching who teach the wrong way to tackle. If you want to address the problem, make youth football coaches certified to do the job they do. There are youth football coaches who spend way too much time on complicated offensive and defensive schemes instead of teaching the fundamentals.
Another thing to consider is improperly fitted helmets. Too many players wear helmets that are not snug to the head. Players seem to prefer comfort while sacrificing safety.
Football officials are instructed to immediately penalize any situation in which a player appears to improperly use his helmet in making a block or tackle – even if it’s questionable.
The National Federation of State High School Associations and youth football groups realize there’s a problem and they’re working to make the sport safer. Knee-jerk reaction laws banning kids from playing are not the answer.