California bill would make it first state to restrict tackle football before high school

Shutdown Corner

While there’s an ongoing debate about whether kids should play tackle football before high school, California might pass a law that takes away the decision.

According to the Los Angeles Times, assembly members Kevin McCarty and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, Democrats from Sacramento and San Diego respectively, said they are introducing the “Safe Youth Football Act.” That would prohibit kids from playing organized tackle football before high school. If the bill is passed, California would be the first state to ban tackle football before high school. Illinois, Maryland and New York, a release from McCarty said.

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According to the release, the bill would “follow the advice of medical professions and allow high-contact elements from football programs only at the high school level.”

“The science is clear: head injuries sustained at a young age can harm kids for the rest of their lives,” Gonzalez Fletcher said in a statement. “Developing skills through flag football before high school is sound public policy from a health and safety standpoint.”

The assembly members push the benefits of flag football for younger children while pointing out the increased risk of CTE for kids playing tackle football before high school.

“We have an obligation to protect children from dangerous, long-term injuries resulting from tackle football, especially brain trauma,” McCarty said in a statement.

A California bill would ban tackle football for kids before high school. (AP)
A California bill would ban tackle football for kids before high school. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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