California has joined a number of other states in limiting the number of full-contact practices in middle and high schools.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that will prohibit full-contact practices in the off-season and only allow two 90-minute ones per week in the preseason and regular season. The bill also establishes a 7-day supervised protocol that athletes will be required to complete after a head injury. The law, which will apply to all public, private and charter schools, will go into effect in 2015.
By and large, the response to the new measures seems to have been a positive one. A number of major medical and educational bodies have voice their support for the bill, which comes as no surprise given that the Sports Legacy Institute estimates that more than half of football brain trauma occurs in practice. This measure could go a long way in limiting those head injuries, not only the major concussions but also the small, repeated blows that add up over time.
Though of course not everybody is thrilled with the new regulations, it’s encouraging that more lawmakers are recognizing and reacting to the need to protect kids’ heads. Perhaps more will now follow in the wake of these states who have already stepped up.
*Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.