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Assembly Looks To Add Concussion Rules For Youth Sports

Denis Poroy / AP

File Photo: Pop Warner football players look on before an NFL pre-season football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers Friday, Sept. 4, 2009 in San Diego.

Denis Poroy / AP

California's rules for how junior high and high schools handle concussions in student athletics could soon be extended to other youth sport leagues. A bill passed an Assembly committee Tuesday.

The legislation would require youth league coaches and officials to receive training about concussions and how to spot them. Parents would have to sign information sheets. Students suspected of suffering concussions would need doctors' clearance to resume activity.

The committee heard from something of a celebrity in the world of head trauma. Dr. Bennet Omalu of UC Davis is the physician who linked the degenerative brain disease CTE  with repeated hits to the head. He had harsh words for sports that require them.

"Based on the state of the science, there’s no justification whatsoever to allow children to continue engaging in this behavior," Omalu said. "The public health significance is like smoking."

Some lawmakers worried the bill is too broad and could add red tape to programs like dance. It passed with a unanimous vote from Democrats in the committee, while Republicans abstained.

The bill could be amended before its next vote in the full Assembly.