It wasn’t too long ago that the last state in the nation signed concussion protocols for school age children into effect and already California has raised the bar with a new set of protocols that may soon be adopted by other states.
The new provisions will restrict football practices in which middle and high-school students tackle each other in hopes to limit brain injuries. The law was signed on Monday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.
The measure will limit practices with standard tackling during the playing season and entirely ban them during the majority of the off-season, in response to growing concern over the long-term ramifications of brain injuries that often result from hard collisions.
Democratic Assemblyman Ken Cooley, the author of the law, has received staunch criticism from many for the bill, but on Monday he said the new law was supported by most, including coaches.
“Concussion can change a kid’s life,” the Sacramento-area lawmaker said. “Viewed through that lens, this bill is not crazy. It’s good for kids and it’s good for parents.”
The measure will not go into effect until January, so the upcoming football season is likely to be unaffected, but it makes California the 20th state to restrict full-contact practices, and this measure is considerably stronger than previous legislation.
Beyond limiting tackling during the season to two 90-minute practices per week, the measure also requires approval of medical professionals before students who have suffered a brain injury are allowed to return to the field, an increasingly common rule in the sport.