Some members of the New York state Assembly and Senate are working to prohibit children twelve and under from playing tackle football.

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto first introduced the legislation more than a decade ago. The Bronx Democrat said the bill finally gained a sponsor in the state Senate last year.

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program, Benedetto said the goal of the legislation isn't to hurt football. He said "we love this game but we want to protect young people when they play it."

Benedetto said research shows that head injuries sustained by children playing tackle football can lead to permanent health issues. He said waiting a few years before allowing young people to start the sport would help prevent damage to developing brains.

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently rejected a measure to prohibit youth tackle football in his state. He said "an outright ban is not the answer."

Benedetto said he understands that some people believe "it's a parental right to guide their children" when it comes to something like tackle football. But he pointed out that policies on many health-related issues involving kids have changed over the years as the result of ongoing research.

Benedetto acknowledged there is strong opposition to his proposal. He said it is an issue "that makes a lot of people very angry."

Benedetto understands the passion of those who are against the ban. He said "to many people it's a rite of manhood to get up there and play this very violent game." But, he added, "for God's sake, you're dealing with children." He said it's important to protect them.

LISTEN: New York state Assemblyman Michael Benedetto discussed a measure to ban tackle football for young children during a WNBF Radio interview on January 23, 2024.


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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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