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Eric Sondheimer has been covering high school sports for the Los Angeles Times since 1997 and in Southern California since 1976. Get his latest from the field and follow all our prep sports coverage and analysis here.

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California ranks No. 50 out of 51 in sports safety policy study from Korey Stringer Institute

The Korey Stringer Institute has ranked states on preventing and managing the leading causes of sudden death in high school athletics, and California ranks No. 50 out of 51 in the safety policy rankings.

The National Federation of State High School Assns. and individual state organizations are objecting to the rankings.

Here's a statement from CIF Executive Director Roger Blake: "Minimizing risk and reducing injuries of California’s student-athletes is paramount, not only to the CIF, but to our 1,587-member high schools and to our 70,000 coaches in California. The Korey Stringer Institute (KSI) has chosen to shine a light on certain areas, but it has left others in the dark. Thus, the information provided presented an inaccurate and incomplete assessment of what is occurring throughout California.

"The comprehensive picture is much more positive. Along with the CIF Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, the CIF continues to work with the National Federation of High School Associations, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Practice Like Pro’s, USA Football and KSI to provide as much information as possible to California schools.

"KSI’s review of California’s website and bylaws is an incomplete measurement of CIF’s and especially our member high schools’ efforts at the local level to minimize risk and reduce injuries.

"While the CIF continues to evolve its protocols to best reflect the most recent advances in sports medical science, our educational system continues to be resource-challenged. Certainly, there is room for improvement. CIF member schools will need more funding, more AEDs, more athletic trainers and more research to help support our efforts to minimizing risk. With the assistance of everyone who cares about young athletes, including KSI, we can continue to progress."

Hurting California's ranking are the absence of athletic trainers at many schools. That takes financial help.

North Carolina ranked No. 1 in the study.

FOR THE RECORD

12:19 p.m.: An earlier version of this post stated that California ranked 51 out of 52 in the Korey Stringer Institute review. It ranked 50 out of 51.

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