Illinois bill, on the other hand, only addresses youth football; it does not restrain any other contact
sports. Each bill also differs in the age groups that it restricts from playing tackle football, ranging
from 11 years old to “high school” student. Finally, only the New York bill identifies what the
consequence for violating the ban would be—a $2,000.00 fine on the youth sports league or
organization for each child playing in violation of the ban. The other three statutes—Illinois,
Maryland, California—do not state what the consequence of non-compliance would be for youth
sports organizations in those states.
California – Safe Youth Football Act
The Safe Youth Football Act was announced by two members of the California State
Assembly in early February of 2018, to date, however, the bill has yet to be introduced and thus
this Legislative Update is unable analyze the text of the bill. The proposed California legislation
would ban all tackle football before children have entered high school. High contact elements of
football programs would only be allowed in high school football. The announcement of this bill
was supported with extensive research highlighting the high risk of long-term neurological
consequences that young children exposed to tackle football face.
The Maryland legislation may be the most expansive of the four bills introduced thus far.
Under the proposed legislation, HB 1210, elementary and middle school age children are
prohibited from participating in “physical sports” on public fields or spaces. The bill states:
(3) “Physical Sport” means:
(I) Tackle Football;
(II) Soccer in which head butting of the ball is allowed;
(III) Ice hockey in which checking is allowed;
(IV) Field hockey in which checking is allowed;
(IV) Tackle rugby; and
(VII) Any other sport in which physical activity results in a high risk of head
The bill also takes substantial measures to increase support for youth suffering concussions.
All high school players participating in the aforementioned “physical sports” would be required to
participate in an online course on the risk of head injuries and submit a certificate of completion
to the director of the youth sports program. Coaches would also be required to participate in this
training. Furthermore, the bill requires that any student suspected of sustaining a head injury
(concussion or other) be removed from play or practice and not allowed to continue until they have
submitted a written clearance from a medical professional trained in head injuries. The bill also
requires that youth sports programs using public facilities submit a statement of compliance with
the bills requirements to the appropriate County Board each year. The bill does not apply to youth
sports played on private fields or facilities; however, the ban would apply to any private school
team playing in a public space.