Very important bill passes in Cali Dan Leberfeld

The NFL commends California, whose legislature passed Assembly Bill 25 today. The bill, which now moves to the governor’s office, protects young athletes and fosters head injury awareness in youth sports.

The bill contains three core components: 1) a youth athlete suspected of suffering a concussion in school sports cannot return to play that same day; 2) once removed from play, an after-school youth athlete cannot return to play until they have been evaluated and cleared to play by a licensed medical professional; and 3) parents must complete an education form prior to their child participating in the youth sports activity.

Assembly Bill 25 was authored by Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi and Senator Tony Strickland and is strongly supported by the NFL, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, educators, youth sports organizations and health professionals. It was co-sponsored by Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Senator Alex Padilla.

The NFL, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders all supported the passage of the bill.

“On behalf of the 49ers organization, I would like to congratulate Assemblywoman Hayashi, the NFL and the other sponsors of this bill for bringing this important issue to the forefront in legislature and getting it passed,” said 49ers Co-Chair/Owner JOHN YORK, a member of the NFL Injury Safety Panel. “We know that injuries are a part of all sports, and athletes, especially on the high school and junior high level, need to be protected from sustaining needless injury, in particular head injuries. Just one year ago, legislation did not exist in any state related to this issue. Today, through California’s leadership, nearly half of the states have enacted similar legislation. We at the NFL level have a responsibility to set an example, and we believe the passing of this bill is a groundbreaking step in keeping our youth safe and healthy during their participation in sports.”

“Player health and safety needs to be a top priority for all ages and all levels,” said A.G. SPANOS, the Chargers’ executive vice president and chief executive officer. “We applaud the California legislature for recognizing the importance of preventing and treating concussions, particularly among young athletes.”

“The Raiders continue to support efforts to promote the health and safety of young athletes,” said MORRIS BRADSHAW, former Raiders player and current Raiders Senior Administrator.
Laws like these are inspired by Zackery Lystedt who, in 2006, suffered a brain injury following his return to a middle school football game after sustaining a concussion. Zackery, his family and a broad range of medical, business and community partners, including the NFL, lobbied the Washington state legislature for a law to protect young athletes in all sports from returning to play too soon.

In May 2010, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent letters to governors of 44 states that did not have concussion laws urging them to pass a law similar to the Lystedt Law. In the letter, Commissioner Goodell said sports and political leaders can help raise awareness of concussions while ensuring proper and effective treatment.

Since the passage of the Lystedt Law in 2009, 29 states have passed similar laws protecting young athletes.