SAN FRANCISCO / February 25, 2018 - On Thursday, February 21, The California Youth Football Alliance learned that Representatives Paul A. Schmid, III and Bradley H. Jones, Jr. introduced "An Act for no organized head impacts to schoolchildren" in Massachusetts, and we are called to express our disappointment and opposition to such a bill.
Upon review of the bill language, and further correspondence about the bill from it's co-authors, we can only recommend that all Massachusetts athletic communities oppose this bill. We deeply regret that another attack on youth football has arisen, as we believe this bill, like it's predecessors, is mis-informed with a biased view of the current day medical and athletic facts combined with personal agendas.
The subject of athletic safety including the science of the brain is a rapidly evolving topic in our society. Over 60 neurologists from around the world recently published a paper in The Lancet stating:
"Contrary to common perception, the clinical syndrome of CTE has not yet been fully defined, its prevalence is unknown, and the neuropathological diagnostic criteria are no more than preliminary. We have an incomplete understanding of the extent or distribution of pathology required to produce neurological dysfunction or to distinguish diseased from healthy tissue, with the neuropathological changes of CTE reported in apparently asymptomatic individuals. Although commonly quoted, no consensus agreement has been reached on staging the severity of CTE pathology. A single focus of the pathology implicated in CTE is not yet sufficient evidence to define disease."
Further, in a time where an average of 2.5 million medical papers are published each year according to research from the University of Ottowa, and the 4+ million results returned when you search for "concussion medical papers 2018" and "CTE medical papers 2018" combined, the volume of change in the science of the brain is accelerating.
Meanwhile, all our athletes from the football fields to the basketball gyms deserve the very best safety conditions that we as a society can offer so they may continue to develop lifelong lessons from the athletic development that football and other sports offer. We must continue to seek the truth to accelerate the evolution of football and all other contact sports in a measured and medically informed manner. Many advances in athletic safety have been achieved in the recent past, including youth tackle football. The truth is that the sport of football has never been safer, and it continues that journey every rep of every practice and game in every season. We must not stop our athletic development at any level. We must accelerate the science of the brain. When it comes to the safety considerations in any athletic sport, including football, we believe that our athletic community should seek medical advice from world class physicians, not political representation. We must hold our legislators accountable to pursue and achieve the highest truth as it relates to medical research, education, and duty of care.
Given the current athletic, medical, and political environmental considerations:
We invite other athletic organizations in the professional and amateur arenas such as the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), to join us to proactively address the current day safety crisis in all our athletic communities. Safety, particular head safety, must be the #1 concern for all athletic communities, and more needs to be done immediately for our current and future athletes.
We believe that more medical research and public education is necessary to keep pace with the rapidly evolving science of the brain. To this end, we wish to emphasize the work of world-class institutions like the University of Pittsburg Medical Center and TeachAids to rally the research, education, diagnosis, and treatment of our athletes.
We call for a medically informed safety evolution of all sports, starting with football.
We will support all those who seek the truth regarding safety in our country's sports and fields of competition. We stand by the athletic communities of Massachusetts, and other states, especially those who have been unjustly targeted in this particular bill, the youth tackle football community. Please visit the Save Youth Football - Massachusetts Facebook group and follow @savefootballMA on Twitter to stay in touch with the efforts in the state.
Our athletes and our country needs us to come together around the subject of brain science and athletics. To the extent that we work collaboratively to this end, everyone will benefit, and if we allow the continued divisiveness, we will only prolong our path to achieving the optimal solution.
The purpose of the CAYFA is to advance youth tackle football by honoring our past, improving our present, and advancing our future so that more generations of student-athletes, coaches, and communities can experience the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical developmental benefits of the sport. For more information, please visit www.cayfa.org.
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