Response to NY Assemblyman Michael Benedetto’s Legislation to Ban Youth Football

You may have recently heard about the proposed legislation by New York Assemblyman Michael Benedetto to ban football for children under age 11. Concussion risk and safety of the game have spurred this action.

We would like the Assemblyman to understand the following-

It’s imperative that kids learn the fundamentals of the game at an early age so when they’re older they’ll understand how to play football the correct way.

Youth football, while not a perfect sport, is becoming safer for kids each day that passes. Coaches are getting better informed via the numerous resources now available to them, youth football organizations are adjusting their rules for safer play and technology is advancing equipment. The evolution of youth football is occurring at a faster pace because of all of the media attention around the safety of the game. 

Assemblyman Benedetto, you say you want to protect children, what will these kids do if they don’t have football in their lives? The structure that football provides is unprecedented. Kids have a responsibility to attend practices, learn plays and eat sensibly before play (or they’ll get sick). Concerned about their well-being? With childhood obesity rampant in your borough, Bronx, NY (considered the unhealthiest county in NY) kids especially need physical fitness and discipline.  Instead of banning youth football for children- ban all the McDonalds in your district from serving poor quality foods. 

Furthermore, if you really want to make a statement create legislation to ban youth football coaches that aren’t teaching safe practices.  And while you’re at it… propose a ban on the NFL for the numerous illegal hits that are performed each season (which kids undoubtedly learn from).  I may just support you on all of these legislations.

When a parent makes the decision to have their child play football, a simple risk vs. reward calculation is made.  Does the reward of playing the sport outweigh the risk (of injury)? It certainly does. Youth football is unique in that it intermingles valuable life lessons- a package of discipline, toughness, teamwork and more.  In this sport, if you don’t work as a strict unit, you can not accomplish a successful play. Each snap is operated like a well oiled machine- a systematic process that you will not find in any other sport.

Assemblyman, I would like to introduce you to our YFO All Stars. These are kids from across the country that benefit greatly from playing football in all aspects of their young lives. They credit youth football for providing them good grades (because poor grades means they can not play), friendship circles, respect, discipline and more.

Do you know what’s more dangerous than playing youth football? A kid that is in an unstructured environment in 2013.

What are your thoughts, agree or disagree on this open letter to Assemblyman Benedetto? Please comment below and let us know!

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