Our Opinion: Wrong way to tackle issue

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While the connection between tackle football and brain injuries such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease that can emerge late in life, is not conclusive, the science continues to point to this link as research goes forward. A bill before the Legislature co-sponsored by Pittsfield state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier attempts to address this issue in the earliest stages by banning players through Grade 7 from playing tackle football. (Geoff Smith, Eagle, March 4). While the bill is well-intentioned, we share the concerns of coaches expressed to The Eagle that by sending eighth grade football players into competition without any prior instruction or experience in the proper methods of blocking and tackling the youth ban could actually make it more likely that players suffer head injuries. Concerns about head injuries may prompt increasing number of parents to direct their sons into soccer or lacrosse, and if youth football dies in this organic fashion, than so be it. But this legislation, in attempting to help young football players at one level, could hurt them at the next level where they are bigger, faster and more prone to injury.




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