Massachusetts Lawmakers Pushing to End Youth Football
State Rep. Paul A. Schmid from the 8th District of Bristol County has authored a bill that would end youth tackle football in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
"The bill would say 'No tackle football until the 8th grade'." --Massachusetts State Rep. Paul A. Schmid III
If approved, a law would be put into place that would ban youth tackle football for children in the seventh grade and younger. The bill was introduced to the Massachusetts State Legislature last month and is co-authored by a number of state lawmakers, including Carole Fiola and Alan Silva, both from Fall River.
Schmid writes, "No child in grade seven or under shall play, practice, or otherwise participate in organized tackle football." The bill would, however, allow for flag football.
If passed, the Massachusetts statewide youth football ban would impose a $2,000 fine for every instance that a league allows children in seventh grade or below to participate in tackle football. If the league receives a fine, yet continues over the following 12 months to allow children to play tackle football, that fine would rise to $5,000. The fines in Schmid's bill get as steep as $10,000.
Rep. Schmid, who represents parts of New Bedford, Fall River, Freetown and all of Westport, will be appearing on the Rock and Fox Show tomorrow morning at 7:45 a.m. to talk more about his bill to ban youth football. Schmid says the bill is more restrictive than just preventing head impacts to school-aged children. He says, "the bill would say 'No tackle football until the 8th grade'."
Schmid and Fiola both say that the bill is "meant to start a conversation" about the safety of youth football.
Here is the full text of Massachusetts State Rep. Paul Schmid's bill:
SECTION 1. Chapter 111 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 222 the following new section:-
Section 222A. (a) No child in grade seven or under shall play, practice, or otherwise participate in organized tackle football; provided however, that nothing within this section shall prohibit children in grade seven or under from playing, practicing, or otherwise participating in any form of football which does not involve tackling
(b) Except as provided in subsections (c) and (d) of this section, any school, league or other entity whose purpose is to allow children to participate in football who violates, disobeys, or disregards any term or provision of this chapter, shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than two thousand dollars for every such violation.
(c) The penalty provided for in subsection (b) of this section may be increased to an amount not to exceed five thousand dollars for a subsequent violation if the school, league or other entity whose purpose is to allow children to participate in football committed the same violation, with respect to the same or any other person or persons, within twelve months of the initial violation for which the penalty was assessed pursuant to subsection (b) of this section and said violations were a serious threat to the health and safety of an individuals or individuals.
(d) The penalty provided for in subsection (b) of this section may be increased to an amount not to exceed ten thousand dollars if the violation directly results in serious physical harm to any participant or participants.