Today's Law As Amended

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AB-7 Interscholastic athletics: High School Baseball Safety Act of 2010.(2009-2010)

As Amends the Law Today

 This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the High School Baseball Safety Act of 2010.
SEC. 2.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) On March 11, 2010, 16-year-old Gunnar Sandberg, a pitcher for Marin Catholic High School in Marin County, was struck in the head by a line-drive hit from a metal bat, and suffered severe head injuries that required emergency brain surgery.
(b) The recent tragedy involving Gunnar Sandberg is not an isolated incident. In recent years, there have been numerous incidents of serious injury and even death involving baseball pitchers who were struck in the head by balls hit with metal bats.
(c) Historically, and continuing to the present day at the professional level, baseball has been played with wooden bats. Beginning in approximately the 1970s, aluminum bats began to appear as a popular alternative to wooden bats, and in recent years nonwooden bats have become commonplace at these levels of competition. Advances in baseball bat design, including the materials and technology used, have resulted in bats that far outperform traditional wooden bats.
(d) There is substantial evidence that baseballs struck with these advanced nonwooden bats travel at faster velocities, leaving pitchers less time to respond to balls that are hit at them and increasing the likelihood of serious injury. In 2009, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) enacted a moratorium on the use of composite barreled bats until 2011. According to the NCAA, this moratorium is necessary to protect the integrity of the game and to enhance the safety of the student athletes.
(e) In California and throughout the country, there are growing concerns that these advanced nonwooden bats present an unacceptable safety risk to pitchers. These concerns are especially acute at the high school level. Many members of the baseball community, as well as independent experts, have called for a ban on nonwooden bats. Some also suggest that protective headgear for pitchers should be required.
(f) In response to the Sandberg tragedy, the Marin County Athletic League voted on March 25, 2010, to suspend the use of nonwooden bats for the rest of the 2010 baseball season, and called on other high school athletic officials to do the same.
(g) A statewide moratorium on the use of nonwooden bats in high school baseball for one year is an appropriate precautionary measure. The sport of baseball will not be harmed or compromised by the use of traditional wooden bats during this period. It is the intent of the Legislature that, during this one-year moratorium, sports officials and members of the baseball community should actively consider and evaluate strategies to ensure player safety, including, but not limited to, the materials and performance standards for baseball bats and the possibility of protective headgear.
(h) The Legislature notes that nonwooden bats are prohibited at the major and minor league levels, and baseball is a game of traditions, which suggests that consideration should be given to whether the use of nonwooden bats is consistent with the traditions and highest standards of the game.

SEC. 3.

 Section 35179.4 is added to the Education Code, to read:

 (a) A nonwooden baseball bat shall not be used at a private or public high school competitive baseball game or practice or during a physical education class or activity conducted at a private or public high school.
(b) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2012, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2012, deletes or extends that date.