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After California Ban Fails, Controversy Persists Over Youth Tackle Football

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Katherine Brearley, mother of the late Owen Thomas, a former University of Pennsylvania football player, holds her son's high school football helmet after testifying before the House Education and Labor Committee about the Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act on Capitol Hill September 23, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images))

Facing legislation that might have banned youth tackle football in California, parents, coaches, and football fans rallied in a fierce offensive, ultimately defeating the bill. “The Safe Youth Football Act” proposed a ban on tackle football for children under 14, in light of recent research that shows playing before age 12 can incur lifelong cognitive consequences. We discuss the future of youth football, the failed legislation and hear from advocates on both sides of the debate. What do you think — should children be allowed to play tackle football? Why or why not?

Christopher Nowinski, co-founder and CEO, Concussion Legacy Foundation; co-founder, Boston University’s CTE Center; author, “Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis”
Joe Rafter, founder, Save Youth Football.com; co-founder, Save Youth Football California Coalition; president, Southern Marin Football and Cheer Association

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