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Former Maryland DB helps legislators propose bill banning pre-high school tackle football

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This is the Maryland Minute, a short story followed by a roundup of Terps-related news.

Maryland v Georgia Tech Photo By Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

A bill that would essentially ban tackle football before high school will be heard in the Maryland legislature on March 2.

The bill, authored by Del. Terri Hill (D-Baltimore and Howard), has the support of at least one former Maryland player. Former Terps and NFL defensive back Madieu Williams is now an intern in Hill’s office and was heavily involved in the bill’s crafting.

The bill would mean that tackle football would be banned from public fields for elementary and middle school players. It would also bar private tackle teams with players under 14 from using dpublic fields in an effort to limit concussions. Multiple studies have linked football with the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

While the bill’s intention is to protect children from the repeated head trauma that occurs during the course of a football game, a worry is that it could put players behind developmentally when they get to high school.

The bill will be heard by the state’s Ways and Means committee and prohibits checking in lacrosse and hockey and headers in soccer until high school, as well. However, limits on those sports could be removed through the amendment process before the final bill is voted on.

If passed, Maryland would be the first state to impose limits on tackle football, though similar legislation is being considered in New York, Illinois and California. Williams also helped write a second bill requiring public high schools to have a licensed healthcare provider, or person who has completed concussion training, at every practice and game. The second bill doesn’t currently have a date to be voted on.

In other news

Speaking of football, DJ Durkin landed his first recruit of the 2019 cycle, when three-star cornerback LaVonte Gater committed to Maryland on Wednesday afternoon. Gater’s the No. 6 overall prospect in Washington, D.C., and his commitment starts the Terps off at No. 52 in the rankings.

News of his commitment came in right after Thomas and I hopped off the weekly podcast. Listen to this if you like Lefty Driesell, Maryland basketball and spring sports. Don’t listen if you hate puppies.

Baseball is sitting 2-2 after dropping its first midweek game of the season at William & Mary, 10-4, on Wednesday.

The men’s lacrosse title defense is still off to a strong start. The Terps improved to 4-0 with a dominant seven-goal win over Penn.

The win was also head coach John Tillman’s 100th win, reached in seven seasons in College Park. In honor of the achievement, former players from his time at Maryland sent in videos to say congratulations.