Going in effect immediately is the proposal to limit full-contact in football practices.
Schools cannot have consecutive days of full-contact practice after Day 5 during the presason. Starting six days before the first regular- season game, schools are only allowed three days a week of full-contact practice that includes junior varsity and varsity level games. That rule lasts throughout the season until the state championships.
During the spring, teams will still be allowed three days of full-contact, but those days cannot be consecutive. Spring games will count as full-contact.
The rule is part of a trickle-down effect from the NFL and the NCAA in response to the increasing concerns of player safety in regards to concussions. Those two organizations then went to the NFHSA (National Federation of High School Athletics) with the changes. From there, the guidelines trickled to the various state activities associations.
The NCAA recently came out with some guidelines to give coaches and institutions a better picture as to when and how practices can be conducted. Already the Ivy League and the PAC-12 Conference have limited inseason, full-contact practices to two per week and have establish policies for full-contact practices during the spring and preseason.
So, the NCAA put in play the definitions of full-pad practice that does not involve live contact practice and combined what was already established to come up with some guidelines to "improve safety, including possibly descreasing student-athlete exposure for concussion and sub-concussive impacts," according to the NCAA website.
While limiting full contact three times a week seems rather minimal, let’s break it down a bit. Let’s suppose a week for a high school team runs from Saturday (the day after a game) to Friday (varsity game).
Saturdays: Light workout, maybe some weightlifting.
Sundays: Light to moderate workout.
Mondays: Full contact workout
Tuesday: Heavy workout, JV game
Wednesdays: Full contact workout (JV players excused from full contact)
Thursdays: Walk through, light workout
Fridays: Varsity game
Van Buren coach Brooks Coatney said that the new rule would have no impact on the way he conducts practices at the high school.
After all there are some limitations as to how much a kid can pitch during a week in some leagues, to help protect their physical well-being. It’s a good idea to protect kids in other sports as well.
And there seems to be little indication that this will impact at all. If it were up to me, I would ban face masks from football. That way it forces kids to keep their heads up when they tackle.
Hopefully, at some point the NFHSA will see fit to issue guidelines in reducing full-contact during basketball games.