Canada is taking steps to ban tackle football for kids 12 and under because of player safety concerns.
Football Canada, the sanctioning body for American football in the country, has approved a full-squad tackle football ban for kids under 13 starting in 2022. Tackle football participation in the country has dwindled considerably in recent years amidst rising awareness of the impact of head trauma on brain health.
"Support for football in this country is underwhelming and disappointing… at times it can feel like it’s under attack."— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) April 3, 2019
CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie addressing Canadian govt hearing on sports concussions. He says 100K Canadian youth play football, down 40% over past decade. pic.twitter.com/rJKaKGli7q
The revelation of the tackle football ban was made by CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie on Wednesday. He said the CFL and Football Canada were focusing youth efforts on flag football.
Per the New York Times, the tackle football ban applies to 12-on-12 games (Canadian tackle football as an extra player on the field). Kids from 10-12 years old will still be allowed to play tackle football in 6-on-6 and 9-on-9 leagues. Players 8 and under are currently banned from playing tackle football.
During his speech to the Canadian government Wednesday, Ambrosie also asked for funding for mental health evaluations of all Canadian Football League players.
“We can do so much more with your help.”— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) April 3, 2019
Ambrosie uses platform to ask for more government funding for football.
He also says he'd like to introduce mental-health assessments of CFL players before every season. Such tests, he says, would be “an expensive undertaking.”
NFL: Concussions down in 2018
The NFL has taken small steps to address head trauma and the league said in February that diagnosed concussions dropped 25 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.
The revelation of a drop in concussions came after the NFL’s chief medical officer said that the league had to have an “intervention” with seven teams regarding the prevalence of practice concussions in 2017.
The league instituted new rules regarding players lowering their helmets to initiate contact during the 2018 season. After numerous flags were thrown in the name of player safety in the preseason, the NFL clarified the rule and the number of flags for hits to the head in the regular season dropped precipitously.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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