SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - California lawmakers on Thursday moved to restrict the number of football practices in which students are allowed to tackle each other, due to concerns that permanent brain damage could result from concussions among high school athletes.
The measure, which would require approval from a medical professional before students who suffer head injuries may return to the field, is the latest action by U.S. lawmakers to try to minimize brain damage to professionals and students during sporting events.
"We have a multitude of evidence that this does not just affect professional athletes, but that younger kids who are still developing are just as susceptible," the bill's author, Democratic Assemblyman Ken Cooley, said in a statement. "Medical research has shown hits don't have to produce a concussion to have long-lasting effects."
If signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, the measure, passed by the state senate on Thursday, would make California the 20th U.S. state to restrict practices by middle school and high school football teams during which tackling and other full-contact activities are allowed.