CHICAGO (CBS) — Concussions, depression and impact on brain development. We’ve all heard the potential hard knocks of youth tackle football.
Now an Illinois lawmaker wants a ban on the sport for some of the youngest athletes.
CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez takes a look at a measure named for a late Chicago Bears player.
It’s called the Dave Duerson Act to Prevent CTE.
State representative Carol Sente is introducing legislation to ban tackle football for children under 12.
She was joined by former NFL players Mike Adamle, Otis Wilson and the son of Dave Duerson, who saw first hand how violent hits his dad suffered on the football field led to rage, dementia, depression and suicide.
“We now know with certainty that part of the solution is to guard our children’s developing brains from the dangers of tackle football,” says Tregg Duerson, son of Dave Duerson.
Why age 12? Chris Nowinski of the Concussion Legacy Foundation says the age of 12 matters.
“There’s a magical period of brain development that happens in your child between eight and twelve. It’s a terrible time to be hitting them in the head over and over again,” says Nowinski.
Opponents, like this youth football coach, says kids won’t stop playing tackle football. They just won’t get the proper training.
“I was shocked and a little confused by it,” says Patrick Murphy, football coach Humboldt Park Patriots football program.
“They’ll be unsupervised. They won’t be learning the proper techniques of the sport and when they do turn 12 or 13 and they start going to high school, they won’t be prepared.”
Murphy says his league has seen few injuries.
But supporters like Mike Adamle who suffers from seizures and dementia that his doctors say could be caused by CTE, says it’s not worth the risk.
“It’s going to eventually kill me. I don’t know when but I found out there’s some things that you can do to abate the decline that happens in all of us,” says Adamle.
Dave Duerson’s brain was donated to the brain bank at Boston University.
Researchers at the CTE Center there showed children who played tackle football before they’re 12 have double the risk for CTE in their lifetime.