As the Seahawks and Broncos gear up for Superbowl 48, a New York City Assemblyman is trying to ban kids from playing contact football. This comes after a number of high-profile brain injuries in the NFL. Our Megan Cruz has this story.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- "He couldn't focus on his work, he didn't want to leave his room, sunlight disturbed him," all because of one too many hits on the football field, says Assemblyman Michael Benedetto.
His friend's son's suffering, the reason he's proposed a bill banning kids under the age of 14 from playing tackle football.
"Let them play tag football, let them play flag football and then when they get older, their bodies are stronger, then ease them into the game of full contact tackle football," Benedetto added.
Benedetto cites recent studies suggesting that kids under 14 are more susceptible to brain injuries.
If not concussions, he says repeated smaller blows can do the same damage.
Neurologist Dr. David Hart questions Benedetto's research, "The data on that is lacking."
Due in part to limited technology: Hart says you can't see a concussion on a CAT Scan or MRI.
What he's sure of though, "Kids mature at different rates and everybody's brain is a little but different, so I don't think there's really any age where you can say it's really safe or isn't safe."
Right now, kids as young as 5 play tackle football on youth leagues across the country.
Drew Guingo coaches about 130 of them here in Albany.
"You want to see your target at all times and have your head up, not lead with your head, don't have your head down," said Drew Guingo, Albany Pop Warner Director.
The proper way to tackle so you don't get hurt, he says a lesson best learned at a young age.
"Every parent needs to make that decision for their own child, with some knowledge of what the stakes are," said Hart.
"There are traditions and when you try to break and tamper with traditions, there's generally push back," Benedetto added.
Benedetto says the bill is still in committee in the State Assembly, with no sponsor in the Senate.