California law limits full-contact football practice for youth, - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

California law limits full-contact football practice for youth, local coach weighs in

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Football, and the injuries associated with it, are in the national spotlight. With recent suits from former NFL players and new rules determining when it is safe to return to play after a concussion, it's at the center of attention.

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that limits the number of full-contact practices for young players. All middle and high school football teams can hold no more than two full-contact practices each week. Those practices must not go over 90 minutes.

Mountain Brook High School football coach Chris Yeager says he understands the concern. But he say this law may not be necessary. Yeager says he and most other coaches already limit their teams to a couple of full-contact practices per week. And full-contact for his team usually last less than 90 minutes. Overall, he believes football programs are best run by people on the turf, rather than people in the State Capitol. 

Yeager, who's been coaching for 31 years, says the sport has come a long way in preventing head injuries. He says he's seen high school football go from full-out contact all the time, to more passing and concentration on athleticism rather than brutish hitting. He says all this is a direct result of the attention to head injuries. However, he believes we won't see the full benefits of these changes right away. 

"We really won't know the impact of some of the steps that we've taken recently to ensure the safety of our players for twenty or thirty more years. But i believe that we will be pleasantly surprised."








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