CHICAGO (CBS) — Tackle football moved one step closer to being banned in Illinois for young children.
It’s a piece of legislation named after former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson.
Lawmakers in Springfield listened to people who say that’s a necessary step to prevent tragedies like the loss of Duerson and others who developed a degenerative brain disease brought on after a lifetime of playing football.
“In 2011, my father tragically took his own life by shooting himself in the chest,” said Tregg Duerson, the football players son.
Duerson spoke at the hearing about how repeated hits to the head altered his father’s life, causing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or, CTE.
“He went from a Harvard-educated successful businessman to an individual who struggled with bankruptcy, urges of physical assault and also depression,” says Duerson’s son Tregg.
The wife of former NFL player Gerry Sullivan says her husband developed dementia at the age of 52.
“Some of the symptoms that I experienced that is widespread in our community include unmitigated rage, domestic violence and suicidal ideation,” says Liz Nicholson.
Researchers from Boston University’s CTE Center along with former college and pro players spoke in favor of the bill to ban tackle football for children under 12.
“I made 420 tackles in four seasons,” says former NFL player Chris Borland. “There’s no safe way to do it.”
Borland used a mannequin to demonstrate the impact of repeated, routine hits to the head.
Researchers say avoiding that trauma could delay or prevent CTE.
Dr. Robert Stern of Boston University CTE Center says the one ingredient that is required for it is that repetitive head trauma.
“There’s nothing else that causes it, leads to it, other than that,” says Stern.
The bill passed out of committee by an 11 to 9 vote and moves to the full House.
Those against the bill were upset that there wasn’t enough notice of the meeting so opponents could attend and give their opinions.