There was big news out of Bloomington, Illinois coming and I was getting fired up because the word on the street was they had been working with the Kory Stinger Institute and Sports Legacy Institute to create a new “football” policy. With my effort over the past two years to get the Illinois High School Association to look at and make some proactive changes to the way football is practiced, there was hope it had not fallen on deaf ears.
Well, the announcement/proposal is out… It’s a good first step; one that addresses the heat issues that plague football. Some highlights are;
- 14 day period that every player must go through to be eligible to play
- Strict guidelines on actual practice time and rest time during multiple practice days (traditionally 2-a-days)
- Set rest days
- Removal of “grey area” of weights/agilities/walk throughs
- Definition of scrimmages
- No matter what was done before the start of the season all must do the 14 day period
Moreover this proposal is very specific and makes very good sense in the area of heat acclimatization. Obviously you can see the hard work of KSI in the proposal, but where is SLI input? Some of the missing talking points I can think of from SLI are;
- 25 contact days in the “offseason”/”summer”
- Contact limits during practices
- Rest after contact days
As with most things, I am not privy to all the talking points or more of what is coming down the line, but I have tried to give the benefit of the doubt to the IHSA and their fine folks up there. I am hopeful that it is a first step in the right direction and I applaud the IHSA for taking this step; now the schools need to back this 100%.
Every heat related death is 100% preventable, this proposal takes a lot of loopholes out and makes the team/school accountable for the proper acclimatization.
Pennsylvania has just instituted an acclimitzation policy for football starting this fall. There is a lot of controversy and skepticism. The PIAA put this in place quickly fearing that it was something that would be coming down for the State Legislature in the near future like our recent head injury and sudden cardiac death legislature. The policy is horrible in my opinion. It requires 3 consecutive days of practice with a minimum of 3 hours and maximum of 5 hours. If this is in multiple sessions you must have a 2 hour break. Logically this doesnt make sense bc you can practice for 3 hours straight and be done. But if you practice 1.5 hours then break and practice 1.5 hours you must rest 2 hours between even though the cumulative time practicing is still 3 hours….flaw! Another flaw is their reasoning that this cant start earlier than the Wed prior to camp staring on Monday. Basically you can acclimate Wed, Thur, Fri. but the policy says a maximum of 48 hours btw acclimating and camp. Well that would mean camp would have to start on Sunday and whatever time u finished on Friday….Flaw! There are no guidelines other that no live hitting. Day 1 and 2 are helmets and shoulder pads, day 3 full gear, no live hitting but sleds, dummies, etc are ok. They have not addressed at what point in season is this void? If a kid gets injured and misses many days does he start over? If you have bad weather on one of your days do the others not count and you start over. Its a mess. It was thrown together too quickly by people who don’t understand the purpose of the policy they are trying to write.
Does the policy discuss anything about summer “team camps” which in my opinion are just a way around the rules and end up being full pads and full contact.
Monica, my understanding is that this policy does come into play during the summer. In Illinois, teams can have 25 “contact days” which means they can do football (or other sport) 25 days during the summer. My coaches and I were talking about this yesterday and one of them told me the way they understood it was their camp this year would be helmets 2 days, helmet/shoulder pads 2 days, and full pads one day.
I’m still gathering more about this policy. I’ve discussed it with an athletic trainer who was involved and was actually Facebook-messaging with him earlier this evening. It’s a good start for a heat policy, but you gotta have somebody to police it still…
These team camps that players go to, many are thrown into full pads right away and within an hour they are scrimmaging. Absolutely no acclimation involved unless some of those boys are used to baling hay or detasseling then its a walk in the park heat wise.