Maryland Bill Banning Tackle Football For Children Under The Age Of 14 Dies In Committee

I wrote and article a little over a month ago “Delegate Hill is set to propose a bill banning tackle football for children under the age of 14” and have been waiting to see what happens with this bill…now we know…the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee killed it on March 2nd.

Here is information from a recent Baltimore Sun Article:

A Maryland House of Delegates committee has killed a bill that would have prohibited tackling in football and heading in soccer by kids in elementary and middle school.

The Ways and Means Committee overwhelmingly rejected the measure, which its sponsor had called a “public health” bill.

“I really did not expect it to pass, but I think it’s a conversation we have to have and I don’t think the conversation is over,” said Del. Terri Hill, the Howard County Democrat who filed the legislation.

“Culturally we love football, I love football,” said Hill, a surgeon. “It’s difficult to appreciate that something we really enjoy — with clear benefits to our kids — may be hurting them without our knowledge.”

The committee’s unfavorable report was filed this week. The committee voted after a hearing Friday in which 31 witnesses testified — 25 of them against the measure. It sought to bar tackling and heading until players reached high school age.

Nineteen committee members voted to kill the measure; three did not vote.

You can read the full article here:  http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-tackle-football-bill-20180305-story.html#getslug

Here are the details on the final vote:

Looking at it from the Howard County view point: Delegate Turner voted “Yea” on the Unfavorable report and Delegate Ebersole was absent for this vote. I really would have liked to have know how Delegate Ebersole would have voted had he been in attendance (and if he skipped this vote so as to not vote against a bill from a fellow District 12 member).

While I was very much against this bill…I do support the other bill proposed by Delegate Hill (HB0552 – Youth Sports Programs – Concussion Risk and Management Training – Requirements). The synopsis includes:

Requiring the State Department of Education to educate, instead of provide awareness to, coaches, school personnel, students, and the parents or guardians of students on certain matters relating to concussions and head injuries; requiring an individual who has completed concussion risk and management training or is a licensed health care provider to be responsible for on-site management of all concussion and head injuries during each practice and game, including certain decisions; etc.

I get this bill and it would make the sport safer while not taking away the ability to participate in the sport. I will monitor the progress of this bill and see how it plays out this session.

Have a great day.

Scott E

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