Illinois Proposes Law to Ban Kids Under 12 From Playing Tackle Football

January 26, 2018, 4:09 PM UTC

Peewee football leagues in Illinois could be playing an entirely different game if legislatures in the state get their wish. The state’s House of Representatives has introduced a bill that would ban children under 12 from playing tackle football.

Concern over CTE, a brain disorder caused by repeated head trauma and concussions, is at the heart of the bill. If it passes, Illinois will be the first state in the country to enact such restrictions.

The bill is named after Dave Duerson, a former Chicago Bear and four-time Pro Bowl player, who took his own life in 2011. His family suspects CTE was a factor in that suicide.

“Study after study is showing that starting tackle football before twelve leads to greater neurological impairment later in life,” said Dr. Chris Nowinski from the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

The bill received a mixed welcome among state legislators. Some praised its protective qualities, while others felt it was an example of government overreach.