Rep. Carol Sente, sponsor of the legislation to ban Illinois children younger than 12 from playing tackle football, says that the measure aimed at delaying the effects of helmet-banging head trauma lacks the votes to pass this session.

HB 4341, also called the Dave Duerson Act, would prohibit any child under 12 from participating in organized tackle football. At age 50, Duerson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Following his request, his brain was sent to the Boston University School of Medicine for research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Neurologists at Boston University confirmed that Duerson had CTE as a result of the concussions he suffered during his playing career.

Rep. Carol Sente, a Vernon Hills Democrat, said parents and taxpayers “need more time to absorb the evidence” of a link between repeated blows to the brain and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a dementia-like, degenerative disease characterized by memory loss, violent urges, depression and other cognitive troubles. The Legislature isn’t scheduled to adjourn until May 31. Sente could seek an extension to reporting rules and continue working on the roll call, but she said the “anger of vitriol” of parents and coaches around the state made it clear that lawmakers would struggle to vote “yes” on her measure even if they favor it.

Sente's proposal will stay alive in Springfield until the end of the year, although the hope is that the proposal will be re-visited during a two-week session late in the year. Sente and others believe that even if the legislation fails, the information is still finding its way to parents--who may decide to delay their child's entry into tackle football, or steer them away from it entirely.

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