Legislation would limit high school football tackling practices

February 25, 2013 9:06:10 PM PST
Just watching some of the hits in a football game hurts.

State Rep. Carol Sente faced a skeptical crowd of coaches at a public meeting Monday evening as she defended her bill that would limit tackling practices to one per week.

"Jim McMahon, Dave Duerson, the list goes on and and you think there's something there: Those injuries didn't just happen when they got to the NFL, they started when they were young," Sente said.

She cited a study that found the average youth football player receives 100 hits to the head per year. High school players get an average of 700 per year. The study's author, neurologist Dr. Larry Robbins, estimated that can add up to 8,000 blows to the head by the time the average football player graduates high school.

"We want to decrease the cumulative effect of concussions in kids who play football," Robbins said.

The head football coach at Libertyville High School, Mike Jones, is concerned about Sente's bill. Limiting tackling drills to one per week would leave kids ill-prepared for impact, he said.

"I'm a little concerned that not being to practice things at a certain speed, when it comes to Friday night, kids are going to put themselves in bad positions and unfortunately we can't teach them the right positions because you're limited on time," Jones said.

Dr. Greg Rocco is a physician, father and former college football player who and he said lawmakers aren't the right ones to tackle this issue.

"I would prefer they allow physicians, coaches and parents to manage it and not have the government take over," Rocco said.