Last Thursday, California lawmakers passed a legislation that will limit the amount of full-contact practices high school and middle school players may participate in. Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law. In an effort to reduce the amount of concussions and head injuries, State Bill AB 2127 restricts all full-contact practices during the summer and limits pre-season and regular season practices to only two days a week, which cannot exceed 90 minutes per day. In addition, those players that have suffered from concussions have to go through a “supervised return-to-play” protocol which will have them sit out a minimum of seven days.
Football: Gov. Brown signs bill restricting contact drills http://t.co/JKPo6YBFDA
— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) July 21, 2014
The need to protect, not just the young, but all football players has been a big topic of debate in recent years, culminating in the NFL being sued by former players which claimed that the professional football league was not forth-coming about the dangers of the high-contact sport. Last year, the NFL reached a settlement with over 4,500 players for $765 million.
The research that has been done analyzing concussions and young players is astounding. According to MomsTeam.com, 136,000 to 300,000 high school athletes have concussions every year and 29.1% of those that end up going to the Emergency Room, are football injuries. Per HeadCaseCompany.com, football accounts for 47% of all high school athlete concussion cases, with 33% of those occurring in practice. According to an ESPN piece, per 10,000 athletic exposures (practices and games), 11.2 football players suffer from concussions. The research goes on and on.
The evidence is there and California is being proactive in trying to protect their youth. Despite this, there were those who opposed this measure.
Republican Senator Steve Knight of Palmdale said, “it distinctly puts kids in California at a disadvantage when it comes to recruiting.” However it seems the State of California is simply leading the way, as according to CaliforniaNewswire.com, 19 other states are also in the midst of similar legislation. For now, well played California.