Why We Disagree with the Proposed Youth Football Ban (NJ Measure A3760)

Why We Disagree with the Proposed Youth Football Ban

NJ Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle is the primary sponsor of New Jersey Measure A3760, which prohibits children under age 12 from participating in youth football. Assemblywoman Huttle has drafted this obscure measure in an attempt to kill the sport of football, basing her research on non-relevant NFL studies that do not pertain to youth football. Why We Disagree with the Proposed Youth Football Ban:

 Let Parents Decide, Not Lawmakers 

The decision of whether a child can play youth football or not should be entirely up to the child’s parents. A quote from USA Football’s CEO, Scott Hallenbeck;  ‘Politicians can decide when to run for office. Parents should decide when their kids run with the ball’. Reaping the benefits of playing youth football is optional, it is not required by law. Therefore lawmakers have no right to ban this sport.

Fact: Most youth football coaches have children or relatives on their team. By saying youth football is unsafe and coaches are putting their kids in danger is a direct slap to the face of youth football coaches. Are these lawmakers implying that coaches do not have any care for their own children’s wellbeing?

Assemblywoman Huttle, have you asked parents why they let their kid(s) play youth football?  It is doubtful, therefore we went ahead and asked for you.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle: let parents determine what is best for their children, you do not have the right. 

Misconception about Concussions and Repetitive Hits to the Head in Youth Football

There is a huge misconception circling around youth football. These proposed bans were credited by misinformed politicians that never even been around youth football. If these lawmakers attend practices and/or games, they will see that repetitive  hits to the head do not occur as perceived. Newly created rules and regulations (see Pop Warner changes here) limit the amount of contact at practice.  Youth football coaches are required to complete rigorous coaching certifications and training classes, otherwise they are not eligible to coach.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, how many youth football practices and/or games have you attended? How much do you actually know about the certification and contact rules that are present in youth football leagues in New Jersey?  If you speak with youth football coaches and organization leaders you will learn that football safety is of utmost importance. 

Comparing Youth Football to the NFL, Former NFL Players

Comparing the speed, power, and size of professional players colliding in the NFL to youth football is 100% incomparable, and to do so is ridiculous. How can lawmakers ban youth football based on studies done on NFL players?

Youth football is about kids becoming physically active, learning teamwork, social skills, and how to take direction. The sport requires adequate practice time in a controlled environment. Youth football coaches do not coach youth football to get kids to the NFL, they coach kids so that they are prepared for life.

(Learn More) No Scientific Link Between Youth Football and CTE

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, youth football coaches do not care about the NFL, instead are focused on developing our youth into productive and successful young men and women. This is about developing life skills that these athletes can take into teen and adulthood.  

Issues Facing Our Youth  

  • Childhood Obesity. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 school aged children are obese. By taking away a sport that promotes physical fitness, healthy eating, sleeping, and hydration this will only contribute to childhood obesity. Instead of banning football that helps to combat obesity, they should consider banning all unhealthy school lunches, refined sugars and fats that our kids are consuming on a regular basis. Youth Football coaches encourage healthy living and eating.
    •  In New Jersey, 16% of kids are considered obese, and a combined rate of 31% are overweight  & obese. Video games, fast food, school lunches, and technologies contribute to that. By feeding a child fast food you are poisoning him or her, which is much worse than the kid playing a contact sport. There is no sport that requires promotes physical fitness like football. You take away football, less kids will be active and that lead to even higher youth obesity rates. 

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, are you okay with New Jersey’s childhood obesity rates? I am very disturbed by  the fact that 31% of kids in New Jersey are overweight. 

  • Education disparity. I mean it’s a fact that some kids have better schooling opportunities than others. Politicians should be focused more so on creating better education opportunities for families that are less fortunate. Banning football will take away an outlet for some talented kids that wouldn’t of went to college if they weren’t involved in football.

Fact: 3,000 football scholarships are given from FBS schools. 3,750 scholarships are given from FCS schools. 5,616 scholarship are given from NCAA D2 schools.  2,208 scholarships are given by NAIA schools.  5,780 total scholarships are given by NJCAA schools (NJCAA the number of scholarships per school does vary, this is number is the total between all the schools). 

The vast majority of those kids got started in youth football, by developing coordination and athleticism at an early age.  The majority of these scholarships are given to people that live in urban areas. These football scholarships allow some kids to attend college, whereas if they didn’t play football they wouldn’t of had this opportunity to get an education.  If you take away the sport, you will be taken away several education opportunities for unprivileged kids. If you take away football these kids will do one of two things, go play another contact sport like Hockey or  Lacrosse, or they will do absolutely nothing.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle,  NJ is a top football state and many colleges across the country come into New Jersey to offer football scholarships. It does not make sense to ban football for kids under 12 as many of these kids that received scholarships in high school, got their start in youth football.

  • Violence in schools.  Kids and parents are scared to go to school everyday, I mean look The March for our Lives, kids and parents are concerned. I would love to see some legislation regarding that issue.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, your sponsored bill ‘Alyssa’s Law’ is fantastic. However, more needs to be done. Football moms feel more confident to send their children to football practice, than they do sending them to a classroom.

  • Bullying.  1 in 3 kids in American schools have been bullied at some point. Bullying leads to depression, drug experimentation, alcohol consumption, in some cases violence (school shootings), and suicide.  Youth football is the ultimate team sport and these kids create friends that last a lifetime. Kids that play football, are less likely to be bullied or be bullies.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, youth football is the ultimate youth sport and if you involve yourself into the football community you will see this. Football absolutely deters bullying and makes people feel part of a team. 

Preparing for High School Football

Not teaching kids how to tackle and block from a young age will get more kids hurt. It makes no sense banning football for kids 12 and under. Youth football prepares these kids for high school football and if you take that away it will really lead to more injuries. If you put a 12 year old kid on the field without any prior experience in the game, he stands a much bigger chance of getting injured than a player that has been playing since he was 6 years old.

“If you don’t teach kids the proper technique when they’re young, when are you going to teach them the proper technique?” Gurrieri said. “By the time kids get to high school, it’s too late to teach them the proper technique. Then, it becomes the survival of the fittest.”

– Ed Gurreri Head Football Coach Manalapan High School.

(See Also) Why Youth Football Shouldn’t be banned- Coach Marcus Borden 

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, how many high school football coaches in New Jersey have you talked to? Did you ask them if having kids wait to play football until 12 years old leads to further injuries? 

Keeps Kids out of Trouble

An idle mind is the devil’s workshop- boredom often leads to trouble. Football requires weekly practice and athletic training. This keeps the kids busy and keeps them busy doing something positive. It helps reduces stress and it develops discipline. When playing youth football, children are in a safe and controlled environment with other children and away from otherwise bad influences. There is no other sport that requires more time committed. Football is a great way for kids to make new friends and develop strong bonds. These bonds are created only when kids go through difficult or challenging situations together with a collective goal. Football helps kids develop trust in one another and forces kids to work as team to reach a collective goal. There is no other sport that can replicate that bond.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, football requires kids to be at practice several days a week. Youth football keeps kids in a controlled environment and around good people and potential role models.  When kids are at practice they aren’t running head first into each other. They are running plays with their teammates, be physically active, and requiring them to think and developing coordination. Again, we invite you to visit a youth football practice to see this. 

Proposed Football Ban Overview 

There are several states that have proposed bans on youth football.  Those states include, California, New Jersey, New York, Maryland (was rejected), and Illinois. Lawmakers in these states have proposed legislation (very similar to each other) to ban kids ages 12 and under from playing youth football. These are pieces of legislation that were created by biased, uniformed lawmakers, that have no history or experience playing, coaching, or attending youth football practices and/or games. Kids that participate in youth football reap countless benefits. There are risks with everything.  There are risks in every sport. There are risk riding a bike. There are risks playing in the street or even walking down the street. The risks of playing football are widely outweighed by the benefits of playing the sport.

Take action now

If the entire football community across the country comes together we will have the strongest defense against this ban. A united youth football community will be a defense that cannot be beaten (pun intended). 

Sign the ‘Say NO to NJ Measure A3760’ petition:

Legislation Document- MeasureA3760

New Jersey Legislator/Measure Sponsor – Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle  

Contacting Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle

Step 1: Click Contact Form: Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle 

Select Valerie Vainieri Huttle, then click ‘Select your Representatives’

Step 2: Fill out the fields as described and tell Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle why you disagree with Measure A3760 and that it is your right as parents to choose whether or not your child can play youth football or not. Once filled out, hit submit email.

Step 3: Tell every youth football parent, coach, and player to contact her expressing their disapproval of measure 3760!

Resources

Football Brain Study Flawed 

Pop Warner 

Science and Questions 

Head Impacts in Sport: A Systematic Review of the Evidence

I’m a Brain Scientist and let my Son Play Football 

Be Skeptical: Will 99% Of NFL Players Really Develop CTE? (American Council on Science and Health)

Pop Warner Spokesman reacts to Illinois tackle Football Bill (Video)

Does CTE Call for an end to Youth Tackle Football?

Youth Football Movement 

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