Ban on tackle football before 8th grade opposed at rally

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(AP) — Young football players, parents and coaches are urging the Massachusetts Legislature to reject a proposed ban on children playing tackle football until they reach the eighth grade.

With schools on vacation this week, the Massachusetts Youth Football Alliance organized a Statehouse rally on Tuesday. Speakers, including former New England Patriots linebacker and NFL Hall-of-Famer Andre Tippett, argued that parents — not politicians — should decide whether to allow their children to play tackle football at an early age.

Supporters cite risks of head trauma in children whose brains are still developing.

The bill is in the Legislature’s Public Health Committee. A public hearing has yet to be scheduled.

A handful of other states have considered tackle football bans before age 14, but no state has passed such a bill.

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