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Local News

On behalf of Mt Baldy Football and Cheer Conference, we would like to congratulate our Treasurer, Mary Wheelis for being voted WESCON Region Volunteer of the year at this years WESCON Convention. 

for your outstanding dedication and decades of service to our region. 

National News

California bill to ban youth tackle football pulled before committee vote

A California bill that sought to ban tackle football for children under 12 years old will not make it to a committee vote.

Representatives for lawmakers in Sacramento told interested parties Thursday that Assembly Bill 2108 — called the “Safe Football Act” — had been pulled by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, who co-sponsored the bill with Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego.

A vote on the bill was scheduled Tuesday for the seven-member committee for Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media.

“I’ve heard they pulled the bill for lack of support,” said Kimberly Archie, of North Hollywood, who has been one of the most vocal supporters of the bill.

The Save California Football Coalition tweeted Thursday afternoon, “AB2108 has been pulled from committee!! Thank you parents, volunteers and our entire coalition for showing everyone that youth football matters!”

The bill was introduced in February, and at the time, Gonzalez Fletcher said, “The science is clear: head injuries sustained at a young age can harm kids for the rest of their lives.”

The original bill called for tackle football to be banned before high school. It was later altered to limit tackle for players under 12 years old.

The bill stirred strong emotions, pitting lovers of the game and its perceived virtues against those who said football’s benefits don’t outweigh the potential damage to children’s brains.

Archie and Rancho Bernardo’s Jo Cornell were among those who advocated for the bill with the assembly members. The two are suing Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. after each of their sons died in 2014.

Tyler Cornell committed suicide and Archie’s son, Paul Bright, died in a motorcycle accident. Their brains were examined, and they were found to be suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a degenerative brain disease that has been linked to repeated blows to the head, such as those experienced in football.

Cornell and Bright played youth and high school football.

After the bill was introduced, the Save California Football Coalition was formed and began to collect supporters via social media. Its Twitter followers, as of Thursday, numbered 1,062.

As recently as Sunday, 150 parents and kids in football jerseys rallied outside the Capitol in support of the game.

In a statement Thursday, the coalition said, “We are optimistic that if this or similar legislation is presented in the future, we will once again, mobilize, vocalize, and work alongside with all of you to ensure the future of the sport of youth tackle football and all those it serves.”

In speaking to Assembly staffers, Cornell and Archie attempted to emphasize science over emotion. They had letters of support from the California Neurological Society and San Diego Brain Injury Foundation.

However, Archie said McCarty encouraged her and Cornell to “play the grieving moms.”

Representatives for McCarty were not available Thursday night.

Archie also criticized the message McCarty wanted to convey to the committee. He enlisted the expertise of Chris Nowinski, the high-profile spokesman for CTE research at Boston University and co-founder of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

Archie said she believed Nowinski’s presentations don’t speak enough to the effects of football on younger children.

Pop Warner Adopts USA Football's American Development Model

op Warner, the largest youth football league in the country, will be offering USA Football's American Development Model this year, the first national implementation of the U.S. Olympic Committee-backed program for the sport.

USA Football's ADM, rooted in skill development for youngsters, provides multiple entry points and game types for the sport. Under USA Football's recommendation and supporting programs, youth leagues can offer flag football, rookie tackle — a small-sided, modified form of tackle piloted in 2017 — and traditional 11-player tackle.

For Pop Warner to adopt the ADM is a major step in youth football; nearly 200,000 youngsters are enrolled in the organization.

"For us, nothing trumps safety and we're confident the USA Football ADM is going to make the experience safer and more enjoyable," says Jon Butler, Pop Warner's Executive Director.

"With recent changes...things like eliminating kickoffs for our youngest divisions, limiting contact to 25 percent of all practice time, and requiring clearance from a medical professional certified in concussion management before a player with a suspected head injury can return to play, we make our game better and safer."

"The USA Football ADM will allow kids to experience the sport at their own pace and it will help us with the development of both players and coaches."

The American Development Model has worked well in several other sports whose national governing bodies, like football, have earned USOC membership. The ADM program has five key areas, all of which can be applied to youth football:

  • Universal access to create opportunity for all athletes. This means no cuts under age 12.
  • Developmentally appropriate activities that emphasize motor and foundational skills.
  • Multi-sport participation.
  • A fun, engaging and progressively challenging atmosphere.
  • Quality coaching at all age levels.

ADM will be made available to every Pop Warner organization across the country beginning this fall. The process will begin with messaging to parents, coaches and players about the philosophy of ADM and its role in improving the game.

"We will also make all three game experiences available to every Pop Warner program, which is something we're quite comfortable with since we already offer both flag and tackle," Butler said.

"In fact, this past season we piloted USA Football's rookie tackle program at one of our leagues in Austin, Texas — Hill Country Pop Warner — and received a very favorable response. We have gained experience with all the elements of the ADM and we will encourage our programs to take advantage of it."

USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck has championed his sport's inclusion of ADM, which has been highly successful in other sports such as ice hockey.

"We're inspired to continue seeking improvements and innovations for football and its athletes," Hallenbeck said.

"We strongly believe in football's American Development Model to offer a smart progression, empowering parents and players with multiple entry points and options to choose from.

"I applaud Pop Warner's decision to embrace USA Football's ADM and for encouraging their leagues to make this pathway part of their program."

Social media cost this star athlete his Division I scholarship

now he's trying to educate others

One high school football player learned this the hard way and is looking to use his experience to help educate others.

Shedrick “Shed” McCall III, a star running back at L.C. Byrd (Chesterfield, Va.) started a YouTube channel in hopes of beginning a YouTube career. He wanted to talk about funny experiences and things he has been through in life.

Unfortunately, McCall was unaware that his use of foul language and actions in these videos would have huge ramifications for him.

College scouts don't just look at the player and their abilities on the field, but also how the player, the person, acts off the field; even what they post on social media.

For McCall, it was one YouTube video in particular. He talked about an incident in which he was trespassing. That video went viral.

Soon after the video was posted, McCall received a phone call that his offer to play Division I football at Old Dominion—to school he had been committed to for six months—was revoked.

All of his hard work to receive a Divison I offer was gone, because of a video he posted to YouTube.

For many, social media is part of our daily routine: checking Twitter, posting to Facebook, liking photos on Instagram and even uploading videos to YouTube.

Social media platforms have given people the opportunity to post their thoughts and express their opinions to a large audience.

McCall’s latest YouTube video has a different, positive message, and one for athletes of all ages. He wants to share his experience to prevent other athletes from harming their futures because of social media.

“Another kid is going to walk the same path I walked, I don’t want to see that happen,” he said in a new video posted to his YouTube channel.

McCall wants to educate young athletes about the powerful effect of social media.

“For my young kids out there just please… just please understand, just watch what you put on social media, just watch what you post,” he said.

McCall won’t be defined by this mistake. After losing his scholarship to Old Dominion, he received an opportunity to play for Norfolk State, where he represents one of the most talented recruits the school has had in recent years.

One post, one tweet, one video is all it takes to ruin the future you have worked so hard to build. McCall’s story is a powerful reminder that every accomplishment can be overshadowed by one bad decision, and that athletes need to think carefully about what they share on social media.

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