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California Bill Aims To Ban Pre-Teen Tackle Football

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Sonora, CA — On Wednesday, California lawmakers will debate a bill that would prohibit tackle football in California for any participants under the age of 13.

If passed, the bill authored by Democrat Assemblyman Kevin McCarty of Sacramento would take effect in 2026. He says the purpose is to protect kids from brain injuries associated with competitive team tackle football. McCarty argues that the younger age group should instead be playing flag football. McCarty points out that last year’s NFL Pro Bowl was a flag football game in an effort to prevent injuries.

An opponent of the idea, Republican Assemblyman Juan Alanis of Modesto, counters, “I am deeply concerned about the loss of future academic and athletic opportunities for future scholar-athletes. If we ban the most formative years of this sport one has to wonder how many of our most underserved kids, and our most underserved communities will be affected over the course of the next generation. How many athletic scholarships to our nation’s finest academic institutions might be lost of our state’s most talented young athletes who fall behind in development?”

Alanis says the state should instead look to strengthen the safety and training standards for youth sports, rather than ban tackle football.

The proposed bill, AB 734, will go before the Assembly Committee for Arts, Entertainment, Sports, and Tourism this Wednesday at 9 am.