BUFFALO, N.Y. - On the steps of Johnnie B. Wiley Stadium, a site that has seen plenty of battles on the gridiron, a battle over the gridiron took another step forward.
State Senator Timothy Kennedy called together a group of local football coaches, players and advocates to speak out against legislation proposed this week by New York City-area Assemblyman Michael Benedetto. The bill calls for a prohibition on tackle football for athletes 10 and under.
Kennedy says that it should be up to parents, not Albany, as to what is good for their children. Canisius High School football coach Rich Robbins, who was named 2012 Buffalo Bills Coach of the Year, was one of the people who turned out to speak out. "It is best to teach fundamentals of the game when they're young" says Robbins. He feels it does more to prevent injuries than cause them.
In the meantime, Dr. Lazlo Mechtler of the Dent Institute (who was recently appointed by Governor Cuomo to the NYS Athletic Commission Concussion Advisory Board) feels that the idea may have some merit. He says that while many leagues have taken steps to reduce dangerous forms of contact, he feels football overall has been behind the curve when it comes to concussion prevention.
Another local State Senator, George Maziarz, echoed the sentiment of Kennedy, adding that it is a politically-motivated bill that stands little chance of becoming law.