Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed controversial legislation limiting the amount of full-contact practices for teenage football players in an effort to reduce concussions and other serious brain injuries.
The measure prohibits football teams at public middle and high schools from holding full-contact practices during the off-season and bars them from conducting more than two full-contact practices per week, of 90 minutes each, during the season.
The bill also requires an athlete who has sustained a head injury or concussion to complete a supervised return-to-play protocol of at least seven days, according to Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova), who introduced the bill.
"AB 2127's practice guidelines will reassure parents that their kids can learn football safely through three hours of full-contact practice … to maximize conditioning and skill development while minimizing concussion risk," Cooley said.
Nearly 4 million high school students nationwide suffer head injuries every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The measure is supported by the American Academy of Neurology, the Brain Injury Assn. of California and the California Interscholastic Federation.
However, some high school coaches say the new law will interfere with their ability to field a quality team that is properly prepared to avoid injury. Many teams decide who will play in regular games by holding pre-season, full-contact scrimmages.