Revere Junior Patriots Pop Warner President Patrick Keefe is speaking out against the proposed ban of youth tackle football in Massachusetts.
Keefe will deliver remarks at an April 16 hearing at the State House on the legislation that seeks to eliminate tackle football for players in seventh grade or younger.
“I will show my opposition to the proposed bill banning youth tackle football,” said Keefe. “They want to eliminate tackle football in seventh grade and below.”
Keefe is among several youth football officials who are a part of a group called the Youth Football Alliance that is protesting the ban.
The bill, which is called an act for No Organized Head Impacts to Schoolchildren, has been referred to the state’s Joint Committee on Public Health.
Revere Pop Warner has 125 football players and between 75-100 cheerleaders set to participate in the 2019 season that begins practices on Aug. 1. “A ban would take away about 90 percent of the football players in Revere Pop Warner,” said Keefe.
Keefe, who is also the Ward 6 city councillor, said youth football has become safer for players during the past 10 years.
“Many different restrictions have been put in to keep the sport safe,” said Keefe. “The tackling and teaching methods have been completely overhauled to make the sport safer. The equipment (football helmets, shoulder pads) has been re-engineered to become safer.”
Keefe said that each organization has a player safety coach and each Pop Warner team has a player safety coach.
“Every game has to have an EMT present,” said Keefe. “The safeguards that have been put on Pop Warner and all football have been tremendous over the past 10 years.”