WESTWOOD — Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon called Tuesday for high school football programs to follow in the footsteps of the NCAA, which is limiting live contact football practices to two per week during the season to limit the chance of concussions.
Moon joined with state and education officials to screen videos demonstrating football techniques during a panel at UCLA, which was put on by the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program and Practice Like Pros.
“There’s certain ways to play the game,” Moon said. “You play the game full speed of course, but you don’t have to beat up each other all week at practice to be ready to play the game,” said Moon, who played for the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos, Houston Oilers and three other NFL teams before becoming a broadcaster for the Seattle Seahawks.
On Monday, the NCAA released new guidelines for concussion safety, including limiting live contact football practices to two per week during the season. Moon said he wants high school programs to embrace those standards.
A majority of head trauma, up to 75 percent, in high school football is suffered during practice, not games, said Moon, who played high school football locally at Hamilton High before attending West Los Angeles Collegeand then the University of Washington.
“These kids deserve a chance to go through college and maybe become pros one day,” Moon said.
“If you’re cutting that off as a high school player with all these concussions early in their lives, it cuts down on their chance to be successful.”
Also included in the panel was Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, who introduced Assembly Bill 2127, which would limit high-impact contact in California high school football practice to three hours per week, within the already-approved guideline of 18 total hours of practice per week.
The bill has passed the Assembly and Senate and now awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. If it is approved,California would become the 16th state in the past 16 months to restrict high school practice-field contact, according to Cooley.
“It used to be said you hadn’t played football if you hadn’t got your bell rung. … Now we’re starting to see the risks inherent in this great American game,” Cooley said.
Cooley added that he believes the bill is supportive of football that will help youngsters develop a love of the game in a safe way.
“That is what this bill is about,” Cooley said.