SNIDER: Proposed Maryland Bill Tries To Tackle Youth Football
/ Redskins

By redskins writer

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier still can’t walk on his own two months after suffering a spinal injury. New England Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks suffered a gruesome head injury in Super Bowl LII on Sunday.

It’s a violent sport where grown men accept the physical risks. But Maryland Del. Terri Hill plans to submit bills barring children less than 14 years out from playing tackle football, checking in lacrosse, or heading in soccer. She also wants to mandate a licensed health care official trained in concussion risk and management at games and practices using public facilities.

The cost of medical staff at practices and games is simply prohibitive, but deciding how young is too young for the clap of pads is worth considering. Some youth leagues have five-year-olds in pads. That’s simply ridiculous.

Young children should play flag football instead. They’re still learning the game without great risk of injury. Whether contact should start at age 10, 12 or 14 is debatable and largely dependent on each child’s readiness. Mandating no contact until 14 is subjective.

One reason NFL players are paid so well is to compensate for risk. Shazier’s career is over at age 25 with lifelong health consequences pending. But, Shazier is an adult who knew the risks. Children can’t make that...

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