It is about time someone took a proactive step in football. The sport is not the sacred cow everyone thinks it is; football is touchable by the courts and deep pockets, it is “when” not “if” when it comes to disruption of the sport. However Pop Warner football actually took a very bright and forward step in limiting contact for its players;
Pop Warner is limiting contact in practice as part of an effort to reduce players’ risk of concussion. Pop Warner’s medical advisory board made the announcement this week.
Under the new regulations, coaches must limit contact to no more than one-third of their practice time. It also is banning full-speed, head-on blocking or tackling drills in which players line up more than three yards apart. Coaches can have full-speed drills in which players approach each other at an angle but “not straight ahead into each other.” There also should be no head-to-head contact.
HOWEVER!!! (Always seems to be that or a ‘but’ with me)… There still can be contact 7 days a week, or back-to-back with games, too many days. It is a start but the problem with football is that you start to mess with it and people get in a tizzy. Although the sport is dang good as it is, there needs to be slight adjustments as to how it is played in practice. Someday in the near future (1-3 years) everyone will see what I have been clamoring about (being backed up by research from VT, Purdue, and BU) – practices are where concussions not only manifest more often, but I truly believe practices are where concussions begin.
It would have been better if Dr. Julian Bailes would have advised only hitting 2 days per week (games included), however at least someone is listening enough to make a change.
I think highly of Kevin Guszkiewicz and agree on a small part with him here, but everyone is thinking in terms of absolutes on either end, there is a common ground;
Kevin Guskiewicz, a friend of Bailes, is the founding director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at the University of North Carolina. He said he believed contact was a necessary ingredient for youth football. Without contact, he said, players might be unprepared to face competition from bigger athletes at the high school level, which could cause “serious catastrophic injury.”
You can still have forms of contact in flag football just not massive collisions and of course the repetitive blows kids are getting in practices. In the next five years we find out that the damage is as bad or worse than we thought what does that mean;
“There’s much more that we don’t know, than what we do know,” Guskiewicz said about football’s impact on head injuries. Pop Warner has decided to wait for more definitive proof before issuing even more restrictive rules. Guskiewicz said it could take another four or five years before research determines the short-term effects, and the length of an adult life to determine the resulting cause of depression or dementia.
Where as we can make proactive changes now and then go back to the old ways if we find out we are making a big deal about nothing. To me it is just logic and CYA to do something now. Like these proposals that should be adopted everywhere for HS football – commentary here - especially if you want to keep it around (call it hyperbole if you like but look what is happening in the NFL, that WILL TRICKLE DOWN, it always does).