A new ESPN “Outside the Lines” article reports on the merits of the Youth Football Safety Act, which a member of the New York City Council will soon introduce. The act would require that a physician be on the sideline of every youth and high school football game played within the city limits, and that a certified athletic trainer be present at every full-contact practice. The legislation is grounded in the “power of the permit,” the authority of public agencies to establish the conditions under which private entities may use public facilities.
The article quotes Prof. Doug Abrams: “Municipalities and public agencies clearly have the legal authority to determine the conditions under which private leagues may use public property such as football fields. They also clearly have the legal authority to regulate public school athletic programs. The power of the permit is a valuable, but underused, way to provide playing conditions that are as safe as possible.”