On Thursday, the California Senate approved a new bill that would restrict practices for both high school and middle school football during the regular season and the off-season, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Assemblyman Ken Cooley, a Democrat from Rancho Cordova, introduced the bill, titled AB 2127. Because the bill reached approval at the state senate level, it will go before California Governor Jerry Brown for approval.
With the increase in concussion and brain injury awareness sweeping across the country, highlighted by the recent wave of lawsuits brought on by former players against the NFL, protecting young athletes has become a major focal point around the nation. Proponents of the AB 2127 argue that it will reduce the opportunities for concussions and brain injuries to young football players.
According to the Times, "the measure that would prohibit high school and middle school football teams from holding full-contact practices during the off-season and bar them from conducting more than two full-contact practices per week during the season."
It would also prohibit high school and middle school teams "from holding full-contact practices that exceed 90 minutes on a single day and would require an athlete who has sustained a head injury or concussion to complete a supervised return-to-play protocol of at least seven days."
The bill is supported by numerous neurological associations, including the Brain Injury Association of California, which released a statement which supports the goals of AB 2127: "Academic studies have shown that the cumulative effects of sub-concussive blows to the brain experienced during football may contribute to long-term brain damage and early-onset dementia.”
The bill has not met a great deal of vocal opposition, although Republicans in the California Senate did vote against the bill, the most vocal of which was Senator Steve Knight, from Palmdale. According to William Bigelow of Breitbart, Sen. Knight opposed the bill for two reasons. Knight "asserted that current standards are sufficient and limiting full-contact in practices would hinder coaches’ preparation for the players, thus diminishing their safety." In addition, Knight argued that the bill would result in a disadvantage for California football players in regards to being recruited to play college football, due to the reduced practices.
Governor Brown is expected to sign the bill into law.
© 2015 (Jesse Max Austin Price)