Youth Football Injury Risk to be Reduced by New Law

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The New California Law will take effect on January 1, 2021, introduced as Assembly Bill 1 which mandates that youth tackle football teams are prevented from being administered more than two full-contact practices every week in what is called the preseason and regular season of youth tackle football.

The new law will affect the Fresno region and state and limits the portions of practice dedicated to full-contact to 30 minutes per day and mandates that full-contact practice can not be administered during the offseason.

Jim Cooper introduced Assembly Bill 1 that states coaches are required to receive a certification for tackling and blocking that needs to be renewed every year.

The bill also details that a youth sports organization-appointed individual should be present during practices to evaluate the players that show signs of injury and make the decision to remove them from the field when necessary.

The bill also mandates that a state-licensed medical professional or technician be present in all preseason, regular season and postseason games.

In addition to this, it is required that the safety equipment be inspected thoroughly prior to every full-contact practice or game.

The bill aims to put these measures in place for amateur youth teams and leagues that do not already have these—or similar, preventative measures put into place like most high school and football teams that are run through school districts, charter schools and private schools have.

As a representative of the 9th Assembly District in Sacramento and San Joaquin counties, Jim Cooper shared that he, and the CAYFA or California Youth Football Alliance shred in their sentiments of taking action to make tackle football for youth safer in all possible angles.

Cooper further explains that his main concern is protecting kids from head injuries and all other injuries that are dealt with when playing the sport. Explaining that they aim to ensure that the youth participating or would like to participate in America’s favorite sport would be able to enjoy the pastime with lesser risks.

Back in 2018, The Safe Football Act was proposed by Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego with the aim to bar children from under the age of 12 from participating in tackle football. Unfortunately, the bill was pulled before the committee had a chance to vote.

In contrast, the motion for the passing of Assembly Bill 1 passed without any legislative votes against it. This can be attributed to the fact that AB 1 was passed with support from several youth football and medical organizations for its broadening of the scope for youth football regulations.

It is also highly recommended that when participating in any high-risk contact sports, to have a solid Personal Injury Attorney available on hand in case of emergencies.

Kyle Biggs, Central High School’s head coach approves of the bill saying that he anticipates the bill to bring in more participation from students to try out youth football.

He states that an additional legally mandated safety measure will provide parents with a peace of mind due to the safety net that is created when potential players are prevented from full-contact every day when practicing.

Biggs went on to explain that a good organization is determined by the fact that they teach the correct methods in contact play to ensure the safety of the players and minimize casualties on the field.

The Bill has also received praise from the president of the California Youth Football Association, Omar Evans calling the legislation excellent in its mission to make the sport safer.

He went on to further commend the passing of the bill due to the fact that it would not only increase safety among players in the sport but would also virtually guarantee their longevity in youth football.

He then explained that that safety for the kids playing will be attained through the passing of the bill in addition to being taught the proper techniques to minimize accidents on the field.

Although the bill could prove to be more costly for the teams affected, it is a small price to pay for the safety for the kids playing the admittedly, intense sport.