Elmira/Corning Regional Airport

Youth Football Age Limit?

Democratic state Assemblyman Michael Benedetto has introduced a bill in Albany that would ban tackle football for kids under 11 years old.

Small Fry Football Changing?
February 13, 2013
Southern Tier (WENY) - Democratic state Assemblyman Michael Benedetto has introduced a bill in Albany that would ban tackle football for kids under 11 years old. But not everyone agrees the age limit should be changed including State Senator Tom O'Mara. Senator O'Mara says, if a age restriction is passed in Albany, it would be messing with an American tradition.
    
The lights, the cheers, the smell of the end zone, learning the game of football takes time, and most kids start at the youth level. These are the times kids like 14 year old Austin McCloskey remember best.
     
“The best part was that fact the coaches weren't on us about winning it was about having fun and learning the game,” says Austin. He's now in 8th grade, and plays for Horseheads High School JV team.
     
“I think the coaches in high school and middle school, they rely on the teaching of the small fry coaches and the flag football coaches just to get us ready for high school and middle school,” says Austin.
     
Tom Wolf, the president of Horseheads Small Fry Program for more than 20 years, agrees with Senator Tom O'Mara that an age restriction will hurt players in the long run.
     
“Most kids I think the get the opportunity to participate with other kids and learn discipline and there is an awful lot more discipline in our football practices and games then some of the children get in their homes,” says Wolf.
     
The age restriction gives kids less time to learn the game of football before they get to the level where there is a higher chance of injury.
     
“If you're a parent and you're concerned then don't let your kid play,” says O'Mara. “But for us to step in as government and try to regulate something like this and prohibit something like this is absurd.”
     
Senator O'Mara says he will work to make sure the proposal by assemblyman Benedetto does not become law.