With the recent superbowl, there will be no shortage of news stories and media reports about the game and the sport of football in general. Many football fans are aware of the relatively recent concerns that have been voiced over the safety of the game and the long-term health consequences of taking repeated hard hits on the football field. And perhaps it is no surprise that a lawmaker in Illinois is trying to ensure the safety of high school football players.
A recent article from the Daily Herald reports that State Representative Carol Sente is working with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) to ban full-speed tackling during football practices in the summer. Their proposal is aimed at reducing contact at practices in which the high school players participate before their regular season. Further, the measure would do away with live contact during practices in the summer, and it would require coaches to teach players safe tackling techniques. The Executive Director of the IHSA clarified that some contact would be permitted, but would not include full contact and students being tackled to the ground during practices in the summer months. The proposal is expected to be finalized at a meeting on February 19th.
The driving force behind the proposal likely centers on the continued discussion over tackling in football resulting in injuries that may cause brain damage over the long term. Such concern has reached the NFL, the highest level of the sport. Statistics say that by the time a football player reaches the age of 18, he will have received as many as 5,000 hits to the head between games and practices.
Sente's first attempt at addressing football safety failed last year when she tried to pass legislation that would limit tackling at football practices to twice a week during the regular high school football season. Now, she is incorporating training into the proposal, which would ideally teach players and coaches proper technique to reduce the number of dangerous hits players take. She is hoping that Kurt Becker, a retired Chicago Bear, being involved by speaking on the issue will bring the needed awareness to address the problem.It will be interesting to see how this issue plays out in the months and years ahead. If it continues to get attention and additional stories of long-term injuries are made known in connection with the full-contact sport, a new legal stage could be set. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury due to someone else's negligence in the state of Illinois, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact us today for a consultation.
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