CA Governor Signs Assembly Bill 2007
California Assembly Bill (AB)2007 – Concussion Management in Youth Sports Act was signed by Governor Brown on September 23, 2016. Assemblymember McCarty (D-Sacramento) announced the Governor signed Assembly Bill (AB) 2007, which will require youth sports participants to undergo the same safety protocols as high school athletes in order to protect them from injury.
“Sports are embedded in our culture and we must ensure that our youth athletes, coaches, and parents are aware of the severity of a concussion, I thank the Governor for protecting youth athletes and taking appropriate steps to prevent serious injury.”
– Assemblymember McCarty (D-Sacramento)
“This bill places California at the forefront of improving concussion management at the youth sports level. We’re pleased that the Governor signed this legislation. It will help ensure the appropriate steps are taken so our coaches, parents and athletes are educated on the signs and symptoms of concussion, and help minimize the risk of serious injury.”
Sports-related concussion became a national topic when Dr. Bennett Omalu, an epidemiologist at UC Davis, reported on the results of an examination of the brain of a former football player. Dr. Omalu discovered clumps of tau proteins which, upon accumulation, impair brain function. Also, in a recent study released by the Medical Journal of Pediatrics, youth soccer concussions and head injuries have increased 1,600 percent between 1990 and 2014. AB 2007 will require youth sports leagues to follow certain concussion protocols. This bill takes effect on January 1, 2017.
This is the first CATA sponsored bill ever signed by a governor in California. This is a watershed moment for both the CATA and young athletes in California. The success of this bill is the culmination of decades of hard work by dedicated athletic trainers – stalwarts from Gary Lang, Fran Babich and Lindsay MacLean to Jacquie Lowe, Mike West and Rory Natividad to the current group including Lauren Forsyth, Gina Biviano and Jason McCamey – and nameless others who deserve more credit than we are able to give today. The challenges have not been easy, but the CATA endured. California consumers are the beneficiaries of the tireless, effective, and dedicated leadership of members who are willing to take on an entrenched legislative and regulatory structure. While these athletic trainers have led the way, it is really the thousands of you who wrote letters, motivated others to do the same, attended Hit-the-Hill, helped walk precincts on a legislators’ campaign or simply educated and developed relationships with policymakers that have paved the way for this achievement.
California has the 6th largest economy in the world and a political system to match. The size and complexity rivals that of economies such as that of France. Despite a lack of staff and money, and assisted by our long time lobbying firm Aaron Read and Associates, the CATA and it’s volunteer army have stayed the course.
This is ultimately a real win for the vulnerable young athletes of California. The passage of this bill places California in the lead on minimizing the risks of long-term sequelae of concussions to all of its citizens. The passage of this bill means that youth sport coaches, parents and athletes will all be educated in the risks and symptoms of concussions.
This legislation will mandate that youth sports leagues in California have a mechanism in place to ensure that young athletes who are suspected of having a concussion are immediately removed from play and don’t return until cleared by a medical professional trained in the management of concussions. The new law will also mandates that young athletes who sustain concussions go through the same return-to-play protocol that we put our high school and college athletes through. While we will never know who and how many, we know that this new state law will save countless children from the long term cognitive impairment that results from mismanaged concussions.
The CATA and the Governmental Affairs Committee has not lost sight of our goal of achieving licensure of the athletic training profession in California. Our commitment to this goal has not wavered. We continue to make strides toward realizing the goal of protecting the public from the dangers of uneducated and untrained individuals posing as athletic trainers. Athletic trainers have an increased role to play in the health care delivery system of our state and California has a responsibility to prevent the mismanagement of potentially serious injuries to athletes and other physically active individuals.
For further information about this bill and the CATAs legislative efforts, please visit the advocacy pages of the CATA website.
The CATA GAC thanks you for all of your support and being so politically active. We are looking forward to continuing to battle together to achieve licensure of the athletic training profession and to protect our fellow citizens.
Courtesy of Mike Chisar, California Athletic Trainers’ Association