Sunday, December 8, 2019
US flag

Md. moves to keep young kids safe from football

Now under consideration in the Maryland General Assembly is a bill that would make it illegal for students younger than high school to play tackle football on public fields—those owned or operated by the state or another governmental unit—the Baltimore Sun reports.

The Sun says the bill was filed by state Sen William C Smith Jr, of Montgomery County, and would still allow eighth graders and younger students to play the game on private property, but private leagues wouldn’t be able to rent public fields to play.

It was reportedly written with the help of Madieu Williams, a former football player from the University of Maryland and the Cincinnati Bengals. The fields on which younger students could play other contact sports, such as lacrosse and soccer, would also be restricted.

“This is about a vulnerable population and developing brains,” Dr Terri Hill, a surgeon serving in the House of Delegates, was quoted as saying. Dr Hill presented the idea to Mr Smith, who is a lawyer. “It’s a public health issue. … Little kids don’t know what to look for,” she added, referring to the documented proof that younger children often can’t recognize the signs and symptoms of brain injuries, including concussions or sub-concussive blows that accumulate over the years of playing the sports.

Mr Smith also has a hearing for another contact sports-related bill on February 28 before the Senate’s Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs committee. SB 840 (HB 552) would require the state’s education department to provide actual education for, not just awareness to, coaches, school personnel, students, and parents or guardians about concussions and head injuries. It would also require an individual who has completed concussion risk and management training or who is a licensed health care provider to be responsible for on-site management of all concussions and head injuries during each practice and game.

Voxitatis has frequently noted changes to football tackling and contact practice rules and to soccer, where some states and leagues don’t allow children under 11 to advance the ball with headers, in response to a growing body of research that traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, have degenerative effects on people’s lives. Cognitive function becomes impaired, and young brains, which are still developing, are the most vulnerable.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Girls’ volleyball champs in Illinois

We congratulate the Illinois state champions in girls' volleyball: Newark, St Teresa, Sterling, & Benet Academy.

A weekend of ‘band geeks’ across America

The musical Band Geeks was in performance at a MD high school, just as marching bands from across America named a national champion.

2 dead, 3 wounded in Calif. school shooting

Another school shooting has resulted in the death of 2 California high school students. The suspect shot himself and is in custody.

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.

Loan forgiveness gains some bipartisan support

One Republican from GA, who used to work under Betsy DeVos at the US Education Dept, offers a plan to forgive some student loan debt.

A band teacher is IL Teacher of the Year

IL named a band teacher the 2020 Teacher of the Year on Oct. 19. He individualizes music instruction and shares his work with 1000s.

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ bookends Halloween

Several high schools have decided to add a little spook to their musical stages in this season of Halloween. Music makes it happen.

New IL law ensures inclusion of LGBTQ+

A law will take effect next school year in IL that will require students to study LGBTQ history as part of the social studies curriculum.

MoCo doubles down on summer learning loss

Research is at least equivocal about summer learning loss, but maybe there's something to a new plan in Montgomery County, Md.