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Governor Brown Signs Law Aimed At Preventing Concussions

Evening Edition

Governor Jerry Brown has signed a law putting restrictions on football practices at middle and high schools.

Aired 7/30/14 on KPBS News.

Governor Jerry Brown has signed a law putting restrictions on football practices at middle and high schools.

Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a law that regulates football team practices at middle and high schools. Included in the law are bans against full-contact practices that last longer than 90 minutes on a single day and contact practices during the offseason.

The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, and is designed to reduce concussions and other serious brain injuries.

Alan Shahtaji, a doctor specializing in sports medicine at UC San Diego's Concussion Clinic thinks the new law is a step in the right direction.

"The old school thought, 'You got to get your bell rung in there, you're not tough if you don't play through it,' doesn't apply to concussions," Shahtaji said.

An untreated concussion can result in prolonged symptoms, and a second concussion sustained while a prior concussion is still healing can result in permanent brain damage.

"So you look at the Super Bowl study from last year, 85 percent of NFL players would play the game with a concussion. (A Pediatric Journal study found) a third of high school players would not seek attention for a concussion," Shahtaji said.

Shahtaji says treating a concussion is crucial and can have a beneficial long-term impact.

"It's not your ankle, it's not your knee, it's not something you can come back from if you make the wrong decision," Shahtaji said.

On Tuesday, the NCAA reached a $75 million settlement with former college athletes that provides funding for concussion testing and research. As part of the settlement, the NCAA will also be changing how head injuries are handled at games.

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