Statement from Assemblyman Michael R. Benedetto (82nd AD, Bronx) in Regard to Amending “Football Bill” and New Soccer Bill

Research over the past dozen years has shown that players in pro and college football who have sustained multiple concussions and sub-concussive blows over their playing days are susceptible to lasting brain damage. New studies by researchers at the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, have shown that football players as young as 7 sustain hits to the head comparable in magnitude to those absorbed by high school and adult players and thus may be opening themselves up to lasting brain damage.

It is the danger of concussions and, just as importantly, multiple sub-concussive blows that have the potential of causing severe and long lasting brain damage to our children, which caused me to introduce A.4529 which would ban the playing of organized tackle football for youngsters below the age of 11.

In light of the recent studies, I am renewing my efforts on this bill and increasing the age to 14.

Dr. Robert Cantu, considered to be one of the major researchers in the field of traumatic encephalopathy agrees with me on this important legislation. Dr. Cantu is co-director of the Center of the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, Boston University; a founding member and Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board of the Sports Legacy Institute; and a consultant with numerous NFL, NHL and MBA Teams. Dr. Cantu has written and published extensively on neurology and sports medicine.

Also supporting my bill is Ms. Carol O’Malley whose son, Ryan, played organized football since the age of 7, became a star high school football quarterback and running back before succumbing to the effects of repeated concussive and sub-concussive blows.

I will also be announcing new proposed legislation which would ban the practice of “heading” in the game of soccer for youngsters below the age of 14. The arguments for banning tackle football in our young can also be applied to the practice of heading in soccer