Excerpted from LA Times
July 21, 2014

Gov. Brown on Monday signed legislation that limits the amount and kinds of practices that can be scheduled for middle and high school football players.

California's new restrictions on middle and high school football practices are meant to reduce concussions

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed into law AB 2127, which prohibits football teams at middle and high schools from holding full-contact practices that exceed 90 minutes on a single day, bans teams from holding more than two full-contact practices per week during the season and prohibits teams from conducting contact practices during the off-season.

The new restrictions, which take effect Jan. 1, 2015, are designed to help reduce concussions and other serious brain injuries.

The California Interscholastic Federation, in charge of high school sports in the state, supported the bill that was sponsored by Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova).

“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 new law comes at a time when all prep coaches in California will be trying to adjust to a new CIF rule this fall that restricts practices to no more than 18 hours in a week.

"Everybody is going to have to educate themselves and transition within the limitations," said John Aguirre, commissioner of the Los Angeles City Section and a former football coach.

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.

Like many campuses, Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles holds full-contact practices in the pre-season, including a scrimmage game.

“In the summer, we do need to have full-contact. We do need to figure out who can play,” said Roosevelt head coach Javier Cid. “That’s a very important part of our summer practice. That’s how we determine who our starters will be.”

Cid said his team has shorter full-contact practices than allowed by the bill during the season and he is careful to provide the maximum safety for athletes. He wonders how the state will enforce the rule.

The measure was also opposed by some lawmakers who said the new law is overreach by state government.

Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) voted against the new rules, saying the legislature should not be telling local officials how much time should be devoted to full-contact practices.

“I expect high school coaches to use common sense,” Anderson said. “I expect them to be professional.  I expect them to look at and understand their athletes and I expect them to protect their athletes to the best of their ability.” Some coaches, he fears, might take the state mandate as the new norm, even though it might be too much full-contact for some athletes, he said.

Sen. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) voted against the bill, saying it would put California high schoolers at a disadvantage against more seasoned athletes from other states in competing for college scholarships.

But Cooley said 19 other states already ban full-contact practices in the off season.

High school football players average 600 hits to the head in a season and one-third of concussions occur in practice, according to Dawn Levine, a clinical neuropsychologist and assistant director of the Youth Sports Concussion Program for Kaiser Permanente.

As new studies shed light on the subject, “It makes sense to me to err on the side of caution and expose our kids to less hits, hopefully reducing the risk of any long-term damage,” Levine told a Senate committee during a recent hearing on the bill.

Successes

  • Fiscal Prudence
  • My City Hall
  • A Model Government

Ken's conservative financial habits reflect the values of his home life with Sydney, his wife of 36 years, who has served for many years as bookkeeper for Cordova Neighborhood Church.

His habit of care with money was deepened and reinforced by his 18 Year private sector business career as In-House Counsel to State Farm Insurance, one of America’s most successful financial enterprises. The stewardship of Ken’s city with tax dollars makes it a rarity — 8 yrs of balanced budgets, every year a surplus, never yet dipped into our reserves, chosen as an All America City during his second term as Mayor...

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Government works best when it is connected to those it serves.

I believe that, and during my 1st term as Mayor in 2005, I did something to make that idea a part of my city’s history and identity.

While still under construction, I opened our future City Council Chamber to City residents for an event I called ”My City Hall”. City residents – young and old - had one evening to enter the shell of our under construction City Hall...

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International study into effective governance makes City of Rancho Cordova its first stop.

The People’s Republic of China has 10 study missions now underway around the globe to explore how a variety of modern democratic societies manage change through deliberative government institutions. Rancho Cordova was singled out as the first stop for the team that is conducting its survey here in the United States. The clip that folllows was aired on Sacramenmto area television as the local news crews profiled the team from China’s visit to Rancho Cordova City Hall.

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