On The Fence
Bobby Leach "The Rooster" | 4/29/2015, 2:13 p.m.
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met last week to discuss proposed rule changes to football at the prep level in a continued effort to protect players and make the sport as safe as possible. The board recommended changes to Policy 13 - Football Policies which would potentially limit the number of hours and days each week that an IHSA member school football team would be allowed to have full live contact during full-pad practices, in addition to eliminating more than one practice with full live contact when two full-pad practices occur in a single day.
“These steps represent the next logical evolution in optimizing the safety of student-athletes in the game of football,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “The IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and Football Advisory Committee have worked together to formulate these limitations over the past year. We appreciate their efforts, as well as the guidance provided by the NFHS Concussion Summit Task Force.”
The committee’s first recommendation would go into effect on the Monday preceding the first allowable regular-season football game each August (Week 8 of IHSA standardized calendar). At that juncture, football teams would be limited to three days of live full contact per week, with a total of 90 minutes of live full contact to be used over the course of those three days.
“Both committees felt these limitations reflected realistic practice plans already being utilized by our coaches,” said IHSA Assistant Executive Director Craig Anderson. “It provides enough time to continue to teach players to tackle safely and properly, while also providing coaches with flexibility. For example, a coach could choose to have live full contact for 45 minutes each on Monday and Tuesday, or 30 minutes each on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. They simply have to restrict it to three days and 90 minutes total.”
The second potential change allows only one practice per day to contain full live full contact when practicing two times on a single day. The IHSA Board discussed the recommendations on April 21 and plans to take a formal vote at the next meeting on June 15 after having the opportunity to receive feedback from their respective divisions. Any changes voted upon in June would be in place for the 2015 season.