Full Contact Football Practices Limited

6/17/2015, 8:38 a.m.
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met at its regularly scheduled meeting at the IHSA office in ...

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met at its regularly scheduled meeting at the IHSA office in Bloomington on Monday where the Board approved a joint recommendation from the IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and Football Advisory Committee to limit the number of hours and days each week that an IHSA member school football team is allowed to have full live contact during full-pad practices.

“The IHSA has been an innovator on player safety throughout its history,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “We appreciate the efforts of the medical professionals and high school football coaches who worked together on these changes in order to keep the safety of Illinois high school students at the forefront.”

The Board approved two separate changes to IHSA Policy 13 - Football Policies. The first change goes 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 will 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. The second change allows only one practice per day to contain full live full contact when practicing two times on a single day during the preseason acclimatization period.

“These changes will have little impact on the practice plans for most high school football programs around the state of Illinois,” said Batavia High School Head Coach Dennis Piron, a member of the Illinois Advisory Council on Player Safety. “Coaches understand now more than ever how important it is to have their players performing at their peak on Friday nights, factors that run the gamut from nutrition to offseason training to practice habits. These policy changes will help further standardize practices and protect students-athletes from risk of an injury.”

“I am proud to be part of the proactive approach the IHSA continues to make for student-athlete safety,” said Wauconda Principal and IHSA Board President Dan Klett. “As a former coach, and a parent of a current high school football player, it is imperative to me that we listen to the all the invested parties, from a state and national perspective, to make sports as safe as possible.”