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State Rep. Seeking To Limit Tackling At High School Football Practice

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CBS Chicago (con't)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A far north suburban state lawmaker has proposed legislation to limit the amount of tackling at high school football practices in Illinois.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports state Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) said conversations with Northbrook neurologist Dr. Larry Robbins led to her increased concern about young athletes taking repeated hits to the head.

“Particularly in youth, while the brain is still developing, and it’s in its immature state – when they’re getting more hits, it is worse to the brain,” she said. “It doesn’t just have to be from a concussion, but even non-concussive repetitive blows are producing permanent – not just temporary, but permanent – brain damage, and that of course gets your attention.”

Sente has introduced a measure that would limit tackling to one practice per week for high school football teams in Illinois.

Some coaches said that would make the game less safe, with young players failing to learn the proper tackling techniques.

Sente said she’s still fine-tuning her bill, and wants public input.

“Am I just talking about live contact versus when they’re training with dummies and sleds,” she said. “What is the difference between preseason, during season, postseason practice?”

She scheduled a town hall meeting on Feb. 25 at Vernon Hills High School.

“I’m trying to get as many different sides and people surrounding this issue; from parents, to players, to trainers, to high school athletic associations, etc. – doctors – to give me their information,” she said.

Her proposed legislation has yet to be assigned to a committee for debate.