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Illinois bill would ban tackle football under age 12

It's a controversial move that has many coaches in the Metro East area upset.

ILLINOIS – Members of the Illinois House have advanced a bill that would ban tackle football for children under the age of 12.

It’s a controversial move that has many coaches in the Metro East area upset.

Chris Pulcher, who has coached football for 11 years, said he’s frustrated by the proposed legislation.

"If you're telling me kids can't play trumpet until they're 12 years old but they've got to go to band in 12 years from now, what's your high school band going to sound like?” he said.

Statistics from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association show sports-related concussions account for more than half of all emergency room visits by children ages 8 to 13.

This bill aims to prevent children from being tackled which can lead to brain injuries.

But Dr. Blatnik, a pediatric sports medicine physician from St. Louis Children's Hospital, said there's little data linking just football to those types of injuries.

"We see some kids just from Physical Education falling and hitting their head. It's not just contact sports,” she said.

However, she said there is evidence that the number of hits a child takes probably will lessen their risk later for concussion, brain injury, or cognitive issues.

The bill passed out of a House committee Thursday and could be brought up for a full vote as early as Tuesday.

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