A California Democrat has proposed legislation that would limit the number of full-contact practices for high school football teams during the season and ban them completely in the offseason.
Assemblyman Ken Cooley’s AB 2127 reads:
This bill would express legislative findings and declarations relating to head injuries sustained by high school pupil-athletes, particularly those who play football. The bill would prohibit high school and middle school football teams of school districts, charter schools, or private schools that elect to offer an athletic program from conducting more than 2 full-contact practices, as defined, per week during the preseason and regular season, as defined, and from exceeding 90 minutes in any single day the full-contact portion of a practice, and completely prohibit full-contact practice during the off-season, as defined. The bill would urge the California Interscholastic Federation to develop and adopt rules to implement this provision.
As Cabinet Report notes, “with research now finding that athletes as young as 17 can show signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy,” the bill would create “strict protocols for how student athletes suffering concussions should be treated and when they can return to the playing field.”
It would apply to “high school and middle school football teams at all public, private and charter schools,” and legal full-contact practices would be “limited to 90 minutes each.”
Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, told Cabinet Report that offseason workout are necessary to actually prevent injuries.
The bill also, as Cabinet Report notes, urges the California Interscholastic Federation – the state’s high school sports governing body – “to work in consultation with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine to develop and adopt rules and protocols to implement the return-to-play protocol requirement.”
Rebecca Brutlag, a CIF spokeswoman, told the outlet that her organization supports AB 2127 “will be voting next month on a proposal from its own Sports Medicine Committee to institute bylaws governing the amount of practice and contact time that the state’s 800,000 student athletes have with their school teams.”
Photo: San Jose Mercury News