'We are trying to protect kids': Lawmaker says support has grown for tackle football bill

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A controversial bill is questioning whether tackle football is too dangerous for children.

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto has pushed for years for a bill on the subject. He says he's seen support for such a measure grow.

"When we first introduced the bill, I maybe had two or three members sign onto the bill as co-sponsors. Now we are up to about 25," Benedetto says.

Last year it was discussed in the Democratic conference. And last week, the state Health Committee heard testimony on the matter.

It comes as studies point to the potential dangers of tackle football. But many who oppose removing tackling from youth football say those studies have been inconclusive.

News 12 spoke with a doctor at Montefiore who says that more research must be done to see if tackling could cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

"The fact of the matter is that most of the people who have been diagnosed with the disease started playing very young and have that exposure throughout their career," says Dr. Michael Lipton. "But on the other hand, we also know that the brain of a child is both remarkably vulnerable to injury, but also has a tremendous capacity to repair and recover from injury, which adults don't have."

Benedetto says he doesn't want to stop football -- he says children can still get the benefits of playing other forms of the game, and just wait until kids are a little bit older.

"[We] don't want to damage the developing brain. We are trying to protect kids," Benedetto says.

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