California athletes in youth sports from high school football to children's soccer or basketball could be affected by new legislation proposed to stop early return to competition after a major head injury.
The bill unveiled Tuesday is part of a nationwide push to take decisions out of the hands of coaches and players about when to allow minors to return to a game after sustaining a head injury.
"Not all head injuries can be prevented, but we can prevent greater harm by knowing when it is safe to return to the game," said Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, the Castro Valley Democrat who is pushing the measure, Assembly Bill 25.
Concussions stem from the brain's soft tissue slamming into the skull's wall, most often from a blow to the head or body. The trauma impairs brain function.
AB 25 would expand upon a new California Interscholastic Federation bylaw requiring high school athletes suffering a concussion to be removed from the game immediately and cleared by a medical professional before returning.
The bill would make the federation's high school requirement a state law. It also would require parents or guardians of athletes to receive and sign a fact sheet about concussions and head injuries before practices, games or meets begin each year. Athletes of both sexes would be affected, regardless of the sport.
The widest-ranging aspect, however, is that AB 25 would extend the requirements to junior high schools, elementary schools and youth sports of all types by requiring compliance by nonprofit groups that use school or other public facilities or grounds.
The measure would not require schools or leagues to foot the bill for a medical professional's evaluation, so families or their insurance providers would be responsible for any costs incurred.
It would not apply to college teams, private schools or adult leagues, or to youth leagues that use private facilities such as a church field or gymnasium.
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