New state law changes requirements for youth football

It's the first day of practice for the Alameda Football Association Wolverines.

There are no pads, helmets or physical contact allowed. 

"We have a requirement for 10 hours of conditioning work before we actually put the kids into pads," says Alex James, AFA Wolverines Coach.

With the first youth football regular season a few weeks away, children will be able to emulate their favorite NFL stars. And just like the pro's, the young players will soon have to follow strict guidelines in hopes of reducing serious head injuries.

"They wanted to see youth football stay in-tact. They knew we needed to change some of the rules regarding tackling, and they were supportive of that," says Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove.

Starting on January 1, 2021, the law will only allow youth football teams to have full-contact practices 30 minutes, twice a week. However, no full-contact practices during the off-season.

The California Youth Football Act is aimed at safer practices for players in hopes of reducing the number of brain injuries.

One parent says he welcomes the new law. But feels head injuries come with the sport.

"I think it's good for the safety of the kids. I grew up playing football and concussions are part of the game," says Benjamin Rodrigues.

"Everyone is kind of making a big deal about it but for our league, Peninsula Pop Warner, we had already adopted this through our safety protocol last year," says James.

The new law also requires a certified medical professional to be on hand for each game.

The AFA Wolverines say their staff is required to learn CPR and take a course on concussions.

Parents here say they welcome any additional safety measures.

"If a child or my child gets hit. I want to make sure that they're ok before they go back into a game. Or maybe they won't go back to a game," says parent Grace Leung.

"I think it's kind of an added comfort to have a doctor or medical professional immediately when something occurs," says James.

The new law will not affect middle or high school football.

The state law restricts those players to two 90 minute full-contact practices a week during the season.