CHICO, Calif. - California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law last week that will limit full-contact practice for youth football teams to no more than 30 minutes per day for two days per week.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Roger Cruz, head coach of Chico Jr Panthers. “Especially at this level. The kids don’t need to hit this hard or get contact every day. It’s more about technique and teaching them how to play the game of football and making sure they have the proper form.”
State law already limits full-contact practices for middle and high school teams to twice a week and no more than 90 minutes per day.
But, while these laws are aimed to reduce brain injuries such as CTE, one parent believes it can cause other injuries.
“Let the kids play,” said Nicole Roe. “It’s football. There is a lot of physical contact. I feel like the kids need that time and opportunity in practice to learn how to hit correctly. If they’re not hitting in practice they’re not learning to hit or take the hits. “
However, Coach Cruz and his staff say they are meeting those needs with a safer alternative.
“It’s a good point that you can get hurt without the practice, without tackling each other, but that’s why we have rings, we have bags to emulate another person either running or tackling or blocking.”
The law also requires a medical professional to be present at all games and another to attend all practices with the authority to remove players who show signs of injury.
The law will take action on Jan. 1, 2021.