The Maryland General Assembly is aiming to regulate and ban aspects of youth tackle football for the third year in a row.
I want to highlight three bills in particular.
HB 1569 is sponsored by Delegate Terri Hill (Democrat – Howard County). She has been the chief opponent of youth tackle football from day one.
Of great concern, HB 1569 will prohibit youth tackle football and “any physical activity related to football” from January through July. The term “any physical activity related to football” matters because this is very broad language.
“A YOUTH SPORTS PROGRAM MAY NOT OFFER, APPROVE, OR SPONSOR FOOTBALL OR ANY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY RELATED TO FOOTBALL FOR YOUTH ATHLETES DURING THE MONTHS OF JANUARY THROUGH JULY.”
In my private business, among other niches, I specialize in offering safe, age-appropriate, professional, and expert football instruction, skills development, and strength and conditioning for a large number of elementary and middle school children who happen to play football.
If “physical activity related to football” for youth athletes is banned by the state from January through July, the state can shut down my business simply because I was doing speed training without a football or pads in the spring for elementary and middle school children.
Additionally, several prominent youth football programs in Maryland that have a high success rate of sending kids to college via football scholarships conduct spring football programs for youth athletes. These organizations will be forced to shut down their spring football programs if HB 1569 passes.
I am unequivocally opposed to HB 1569. Contact the individual members of the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee to voice your opposition.
HB 453 is sponsored by Delegate Jay Walker (Democrat – Prince George’s County). HB 453 will simply ban youth tackle football from January through July only at the county board and school level. What would still be allowed includes 7-on-7, non-contact drills, strength and conditioning, tryouts, and spring youth tackle football that is offered by private organizations.
HB 453 changes virtually nothing as I know of no public entities that currently offer spring youth tackle football. Private entities that offer spring youth tackle football would be unaffected.
From a philosophical standpoint, I oppose legislation that does nothing. I oppose HB 453 on those grounds. Contact the individual members of the House Ways and Means Committee to voice your opposition.
HB 1345 is sponsored by Delegate Terri Hill (Democrat – Howard County). HB 1345 would codify return-to-play protocols and impose state-mandated training and registration of all youth sports personnel. It seems reasonable on face value. However, there are questions.
Sports medicine and best practices in sports continue to evolve at a rapid pace. New research is coming out of sport science every year. Codifying current best practices into law will create planned obsolescence in legislation when new best practices go in a different direction thanks to new research, new treatment, and new technology.
Regarding state-mandated training and registration of all youth sports personnel, some people involved in youth sports are already properly trained and registered because they work in schools or businesses that already require such training and registration. Will such training and registration transfer to youth sports?
I also have sources who have informed me that HB 1345 is not in its final written form. There may be language regulating or banning youth tackle football inserted at some point in the amendment process.
Voice your concerns about HB 1345 to the members of the House Ways and Means Committee.