Jonathan DiVirgilio is an EMT and has coached football for the last seven years through the North Tonawanda Athletic Association.

He's worried that if a new bill in the state Legislature passes, fewer kids will be gearing up to hit the gridiron.

"There's a bill in the health committee in the Assembly right now that is set to ban tackle football for ages 12 and under," said DiVirgilio. 

The bill is sponsored by downstate legislator Michael Benedetto, who cites recent studies on concussions and their negative impact on developing youth as his reasoning for banning tackling in that age group. 

But DiVirgilio says it defeats the purpose of guidelines put in place for coaches by USA Football.

"USA Football has their Heads Up tackle certification where you are teaching kids to keep their head out of the tackle, safer tackling, safer blocking," DiVirgilio said.

Some local legislators like Assemblyman Angelo Morinello have stepped up in opposition to the bill and its proposal to only allow players 13 and above to tackle.

"You're starting them out at a later age and the results are going to be more disastrous,” said Morinello.

The assemblyman says through muscle memory, safer tackle training with younger players is easier for them to grasp and maintain. Morinello says the new bill is an overreach on parental rights and recommends its sponsor to start over.

"We're not saying that we're not concerned about the health. What we're saying is, ‘Let’s fashion and work together on legislation that accomplishes the goal,’" he added. 

On Saturday, Morinello will be joined by other legislators for a rally in North Tonawanda. The rally will be hosted at the Rescue Fire Hall at 1 p.m.