California bill would ban tackle football before high school

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Two California lawmakers want to outlaw tackle football leagues until teenagers reach high school.

The lawmakers say delaying the start of high-contact elements of football would protect young people from long-term brain damage from repetitive blows to the head.

Democratic Assembly members Kevin McCarty of Sacramento and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher of San Diego say children can learn the skills needed to succeed at the sport from flag football.

They say California has strengthened concussion protocols for youth sports but that's not enough.

After years of denials, the NFL has acknowledged a link between head blows and brain disease and agreed in 2015 to a $1 billion settlement with former players.

Similar legislation has been introduced in Illinois and New York.

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