A bill that would ban tackle football in Illinois for children age 12 and under passed out of the House Mental Health committee Thursday and will now move to the state’s House of Representatives for a vote.
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Carol Sente, D-Vernon Hills, and has been dubbed the Dave Duerson Bill, named after the former Bears great. Duerson, who committed suicide in 2011, was later diagnosed of suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, commonly known as CTE.
Illinois is now the fourth state to introduce legislation in regards to banning youth tackle football along with California, New York and Maryland.
So what's the reaction regarding this potential bill from those involved in high school football? Mixed at best.
Bolingbrook head coach John Ivlow’s reaction mirrored that of several other high school football coaches across the state.
"It's great that the state is looking into these issues, and the more focus on safety the better," Ivlow said. "But as a parent, I'm not thrilled that the state is trying to tell us how to raise our kids. Parents should be allowed to make decisions for their own kids without any state or government involvement."
If passed, what impact could the banning of 12-and-under youth tackle football have at the high school level?
"In all honesty, not a lot," Ivlow added. "You can still learn a lot of the same skill development without having to play tackle football at such a young age. I never played tackle football until high school, and my kids also never played tackle football until high school."
Several coaches also pointed toward a recent study from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons which showed that girls soccer, not football, had the highest level of concussions.
One suburban high school varsity head football coach added, "I have a young son who has played youth tackle football for three years now and his health is my top concern. With that being said, I don't feel he is at any more risk for injury playing football than playing basketball or baseball."