Gov. Newsom Signs Law Limiting Tackling at Youth Football Practice

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The LAPD-coached youth football team Watts Bears (in white) pursue a member of the Southern California Falcons during a 2013 game. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The LAPD-coached youth football team Watts Bears (in white) pursue a member of the Southern California Falcons during a 2013 game. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

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California’s governor has signed a law limiting full-contact practices for youth football teams to reduce brain injuries.

State law already limits full-contact practices for middle and high school football teams to no more than 90 minutes per day, twice per week.

Wednesday, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law to limit full contact practices for youth football teams to no more than 30 minutes per day for two days per week. The law bans full-contact practices for youth football teams during the offseason.

The law also requires a medical professional be present for all games and an independent person attend all practices with the authority to remove players who show signs of an injury.

The law is aimed at preventing a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Researchers are studying the diseases’ link to frequent blows to the head, which occur more often in sports like football.

The NFL and NCAA have changed the rules in recent years in an attempt to reduce head injuries. Last year, Democratic Assemblyman Kevin McCarty introduced a bill that would have banned anyone from playing organized tackle football younger than 12. That bill did not pass.

The law Newsom signed is authored by Democratic Assemblyman Jim Cooper, who represents Elk Grove.

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