Letter: Tackle football ban risks hurting youth
To the editor:
For years, football has been under attack from all angles, especially when it comes to head injuries. A recent state bill has been proposed to ban youth tackle football. A Facebook page titled "Save Youth Football-Massachusetts" has been gaining headway in an attempt to veto the bill. While all sports come with risks, tackle football also teaches many values and lessons that student-athletes will carry with them for a lifetime.
Banning youth tackle football will not fix the issue with head injuries, as it will only decrease their awareness of safety while playing the game. Coaches prepare young players from their first practice on safe tackling techniques. If we do not do this from a young age, the issue will become more detrimental come high school and beyond. The game is faster and more physical at the high school level and having players who have only been playing contact football for a year will lead to not only to head injuries but back and neck injuries among others. Companies like Riddell and Schutt and the NFL have donated millions of dollars to help limit the injuries in youth football. Banning youth tackle football now will only amplify injuries in the long run.
The Berkshires thrives in all sports, but only one stands alone at the top. No matter the weather, time of day, location, or opponent, you will find every football venue filled with family members and fans come Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. Youth tackle football has been the gateway to many championships, friendships, brotherhoods, and life lessons that flag football could not accomplish.Youth tackle football provides young athletes the values of sacrifice, respect, mental toughness, and teamwork. Tackle football forms bonds within dozens of kids that no other sport can compare to.
I speak for myself and many others who have come through Berkshire youth football programs by saying thank you to all the coaches who have instilled in us the proper way to play the game safely along with teaching us the values that we will carry with us forever.
The writer is a Lee Wildcat football player, class of 2018.
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