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USA Football CEO: Parents, not lawmakers, should decide whether kids should play tackle football

While Super Bowl LII is poised to be the most-watched TV broadcast of 2018 on Sunday, football’s brightest days have yet to come.

However, for future generations of young athletes, that future requires forward thinking and a commitment to important standards and education that are changing behavior for the better.

Unfortunately, lawmakers in Illinois and New York do not believe parents should own the decision to choose tackle football for their children age 12 or younger.

USA Football believes parents – not government officials – are best suited to discern what sports their children can play and at what age they may play them.

We care about our sport, but we care more about our children who play it.

USA Football establishes a new and better “normal” in how youth football is taught, practiced and played.

Offering more choices to play, learn and enjoy the sport is USA Football’s view, supported by medical and sports development experts through our adoption of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s American Development Model (ADM). The USOC’s ADM can advance our kids’ joy of playing football, deliver a positive experience and strengthen physical literacy.

This translates to more options and entry points into the game, spanning flag; Rookie Tackle, a small-sided version of the sport focused on skill development; and traditional 11-player tackle.

“Shrinking the field and having modified tackle programs allows young athletes to grow into the game,” USOC Director of Coaching Development Chris Snyder told The Associated Press in January. “This philosophy fits very well with football.”

“What the ADM means is you should be doing sports in an age-specific and developmentally sound manner, not just physical but emotional and mental development,” NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline also shared with The Associated Press last month.