SPRINGFIELD – A suburban Chicago lawmaker wants to tackle sports concussions by limiting tackling at youth football practices.

Under legislation introduced this week by state Rep. Carol Sente, school districts across Illinois would have to adopt a policy that would cut the amount of contact during practices to once per week.

The proposal comes as sports concussions have become a hot-button issue for the National Football League. With medical studies showing that repeated concussions could lead to permanent brain damage, the nation’s most popular sports league is facing dozens of lawsuits filed by former players who sustained head injuries during their playing days.

Sente said the trend is “disturbing” and needs to be addressed, especially for younger players.

“It should be a concern to all of us,” the Vernon Hills Democrat said Thursday.

If adopted, Illinois wouldn’t be the first to call for less hitting on the practice field.

The NFL has placed limits on contact during practices and the Ivy League has limited hitting among its college football players to a maximum of two times per week. Pop Warner football, which provides gridiron opportunities for kids ages 5 to 14, adopted a policy limiting contact to no more than one-third of practice time.

Sente said she discussed the issue of concussions with a Chicago-area neurologist who suggested eliminating all contact in football.

Sente, however, said that’s not the intent of her proposed law. She said she wants to preserve the game of football, but make it safer for participants.

Her proposal would build on a 2011 state law designed to help Illinois student athletes recover from a concussion. Under that law, any high school student suspected of suffering from a concussion is required to be checked by a certified medical professional before being able to reenter a contest.

The Illinois High School Association, which governs most high school sports in Illinois, also has developed concussion-related guidelines and educational materials for coaches, students and staff. And, IHSA-sanctioned officials must be trained to recognize the symptoms of concussions.

IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said he’s not sure the state should be imposing a law on high schools. He said his organization has already developed guidelines for addressing concussions and could take the lead on any additional changes that may be warranted.

“We think we’re really well positioned to handle that debate,” Hickman said.

The legislation is House Bill 1205.

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(12) comments

observer123
observer123

The whole mentality of the sport of football needs to change. I grew up playing and I love the game, but if things don't change, the game of football won't be around much longer.

earlyriser54
earlyriser54

As a former all conference football player I can tell you that this is yet just another attempt by the liberal left to try and neuter one of the few masculine American institutions. Football is not a game for the faint at heart. If you do not like the violence that football showcases, I suggest you attend a volleyball, soccer,or tennis contest.

cub77
cub77

Wow!!! You were all conference????? Awesome!!!

cubbiefan
cubbiefan

HAHA. Now thats funny.

over50
over50

This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.

ChubbyAlaskaGriz
ChubbyAlaskaGriz

For cryin' out loud. Even me and my buds play football. Criminy.

grateful jed
grateful jed

They are going to legislate us into a corner, limiting the number of ounces of soft drinks we can buy, the food on our plates, the guns we have or don't have, contact in football...all under the guise of trying to control health care costs. It's all under their thumb now....and since they're footing the bill(or more like WE are footing the bill through mounds of debt service to our citizens, China and Japan), then they feel their actions are justified in legislating us out of harm's way. This president has done an incredible amount of damage to our way of life, thru planting these poison pills to the mindset of America.

IF 6 WAS 9
IF 6 WAS 9

Yes, welcome to the new United Socialist States of American with the great Obama as premiere, I mean president. Just watch, given enough time, all of our liberties will be taken away for the good of "the people” and father government will control our lives so we don’t have too. Just like in Russia in 1917, remember, that was for "the people" as well.

CKR06
CKR06

So coaches are not going to be able teach the kids how to tackle properly and they will have even more head injuries? Sounds like a good idea to me.

IHSA Coach
IHSA Coach

Exactly how and when are we supposed to coach these players on how to tackle properly, at half time on game day? Safety in high school is all about proper technique and fundamentals; limit a coaches' ability to teach that and watch the injuries really mount on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. Real legislation should be put on youth coaches to teach properly, that is where it all starts. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that Dad's give so much time to youth sports, but many are just not qualified to teach proper fundementals.

MacDaddy
MacDaddy

Doesn't the state have more pressing issues to discuss? Wait, I know what will happen, next there will be a football admission tax that will go towards the medical bills of injured football players and "left over" money will go to the general fund.

LadyJustice
LadyJustice

Pass a budget and quit worrying about football. I can make decisions for my minor child who plays football without the help of government. As a parent of a child who has played youth football since second grade, every youth program he has played for follows IHSA Rules. Let the IHSA do their job! I know for a fact that the IHSA takes concussions very seriously and has guidelines in place that work. Trying doing what you were voted to do and I know it has nothing to do with football! People should be outraged you even put this topic up for discussion. You must think "we the people" are stupid!

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