Football Governing Bodies Adopt Rule Changes

Youth tackle football injuries

Concussion risks prompt regulation amendments

Football governing and sanctioning bodies have adopted rule changes to protect players against concussions and repeated sub-concussive impacts (CTE) as a result of recent concerns.

Below are the National Federation Of High Schools 2012 rule changes:

  • If the helmet comes off during a live play, high school players must sit out for the following play.
  • Concussions policy for all high school sports:
    Any athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the contest and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health care professional.
  • Once a player has been concussed, the suggested concussion management policy is as follows:
    1.  No athlete should return to play or practice the same day of a concussion.
    2.  Any athlete suspected of having a concussion should be evaluated by an appropriate healthcare professional that day.
    3.  Any athlete with a concussion should be medically cleared by an appropriate health care professional prior to resuYouth tackle footballming participation in any practice or competition

Individual state rule changes:

  • The Texas High School Coaches Association requires coaches to successfully complete two hours of concussion training prior to September 1, 2012. A refresher course is required every two years.

Pop Warner 2012 rule changes:

Two new rules were designed to limit contact and the way players hit each other:

1.  No full-speed, head-on blocking or tackling drills in which players line up more than three yards apart. Intentional head-to-head contact is prohibited.

2.  Coaches must limit contact at each practice to a maximum of one-third of practice time. “Contact” means any drill or scrimmage where players go full speed with contact.

In my opinion:

The Pop Warner rule will have a limited impact since only 28% of concussions occur during practice, according to the injury data that my insurance agency has developed on youth football injuries.

John Sadler

Source: The Safety Rulebook; American Football Monthly; Volume 18; August/September 2012
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