By Ken Reed
A recent research article on high school football injuries in The American Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that sports-related concussions (SRC) dropped 57% after a Wisconsin high school rule limited contact during football practices.
The report also said the SRC rate during games was unchanged. This is important to note because some opponents to the reduction of contact in practices claim limited contact during practices will result in the incidence of concussions increasing during games because players wouldn’t be allowed to sufficiently practice proper blocking and tackling techniques. The study’s data doesn’t support that claim.
Moreover, the rule change limiting contact during practices didn’t put less experienced football players at greater risk of injury. So, presumably, the less-experienced players were able to adequately learn proper blocking and tackling techniques under the limited contact rules.
In summary, The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) implemented a rule before the 2014 football season to limit contact during football practices and the rule change dramatically dropped the number of concussions suffered by high school football players in that state.
Thus, while tackle football will always be a dangerous game for the human brain, this research indicates there are rule changes that can be implemented that cut the number of concussions in high school football.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
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League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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