SFIA Protects a Family’s Right to Choose When It Comes to Sports

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The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) believes that it is not the government’s responsibility to tell families which sports their child can and cannot participate in. Therefore, when numerous states began proposing legislation banning youth tackle football, SFIA came out in strong opposition. This year, California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and New York have proposed such legislation, and so far, SFIA has been successful in keeping three of these bills from becoming law, with action on the other two pending.

The greatest concern with this type of government involvement lies in the question: Where do you draw the line? If you begin prohibiting tackle football participation due to concern over injuries, will hockey, lacrosse and soccer be next? Will we soon be so limited in activity options for our kids that we will be forced to allow them to sit on the couch and reap a new abundance of health problems?

The frustrating part is that the “Ban Football” conversation misses so much of what is actually happening on fields today to improve player experience and safety. Currently, many changes are happening in the sports industry regarding safety — Leagues are making rule changes, practices are being regulated and equipment is improving. Essentially, the more we understand about concussions, the better we are able to prevent them, and treat them when they do occur. Therefore, this discussion should not be about exclusion, but about how to further increase sports involvement in a safe atmosphere.

We are already facing a nationwide epidemic of youth inactivity, and we cannot afford to discourage kids from participating in sports. The numerous benefits gained from playing sports at a young age include health benefits, social skills, confidence building, teamwork and so much more. We cannot permit our youth to miss out on such great opportunities that will continue to benefit them throughout their life. Making it more difficult for our youth to participate in sports and find outlets for activity will only cause them greater harm in the long-run. For these reasons, SFIA will continue to remain on the forefront of these matters, and fight to protect families’ rights to choose which sports they play.

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SFIA is the leading global trade association in the sports & fitness industry. SFIA is the #1 source for sport & fitness research. More info at www.sfia.org.

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