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New California law may reduce concussions and brain injury

Brain injuries occur in a number of different sports, including football, ice hockey, boxing, soccer and snowboarding. Repeated concussions pose potentially dangerous long-term effects, and more than 4,500 former professional football players took legal action against the NFL last year, claiming it failed to inform players of the dangers of repeated brain injury from head bumps and concussion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that almost four million students at high schools nationwide suffer injuries to their heads annually.

These are some of the facts that led to a new California law that will become effective on Jan. 1, 2015. This new law will, hopefully, reduce the alarming number of brain injuries and concussions suffered by students. According to the new legislation, full-contact football practices at middle and high schools may not last longer than 90 minutes on any one day and may not occur more than twice per week. Such practices will only be allowed during the season and will be banned during off-season.

Concussion is a brain injury that occurs when a hit to the head causes movement of a person’s brain. The severity may range from mild to traumatic brain injury, and in severe cases, it could be fatal. Repeated incidents of concussion are thought to lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which has similar symptoms as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease-like tremors. However, definitive evidence to positively link concussion to Alzheimer’s disease is not available yet.

A California athlete who has suffered brain injury from repeated concussions while part of a sports team may have the basis for taking legal action. A consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney may assist in assessing whether filing a personal injury claim in a civil court is a viable option. Successful presentation of such a claim may result in a monetary judgment to cover medical expenses, along with other losses as allowed by applicable state laws

Source:, “New law aims to block young athletes from injuries“, Erinn Hutkin, Dec. 23, 2014