Illinois Proposal To Ban Youth Tackle Football Dead

Apr 18, 2018

Credit Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

A contentious proposal that sought to ban youth tackle football in Illinois is dead, for now. 

Representative Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) is the sponsor of the bill. She said she won’t be calling it for a vote this session because it lacks support, but expect to see it again in the future.

Sente said she encountered several opponents who were adamant that this is a parental decision.

“One of the arguments that was more convincing to me is, let parents decide," said Sente. "Most of the editorial boards said we believe kids shouldn’t tackle before 12; let the parents decide. I honor that. I hear that.”

Sente could keep trying to get her measure approved this spring if she filed an extension, but said she doesn’t believe that will happen before the legislature’s May 31st adjournment.  

“I think that parents as well as my peers need a little bit more time to digest the data," said Sente. "I mean, the CTE issue is still relatively unknown to many people.”

CTE refers to a degenerative disease brought on by brain injuries. Although her goal was to pass the measure, Sente said she's glad the bill sparked the conversation surrounding tackle football and head trauma. 

The plan would have prohibited tackle football for kids under 12 throughout the state.