Category Archives: College
August 2016, Vol. 5, No. 2
Timely reporting on developments and legal strategies at the intersection of sports and concussions—articles that benefit practicing attorneys who may be pursuing a claim or defending a client.
• Court Doesn’t Buy Chubb’s Privacy-Based Argument in Concussion Case
•Will Risk Homeostasis Figure in Hornung’s Lawsuit Against Riddell?
• Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and Its Link to Repetitive Head Trauma in Sports: A Research Update
•Unnecessary Roughness: FTC Sacking Claims About Brain Health
•Evaluating the Legal and Policy Response to Concussions — a Skeptical View
•Arbitrator to Decide Case Involving Concussion Prevention Program
•Football Concussion Update: Player-on-Player Hits Cause More Serious Head Impacts
•NHL Commissioner Bettman Argues There’s No Evidence Supporting Link Between Hockey and Brain Trauma
•Family of Player Who Died from Concussion-Related Injuries Settles with NCAA, Maryland
By Greg Johnson, of NCAA.org
The Division I Football Oversight Committee on Wednesday endorsed a proposed guideline to reduce the recommended number of live-contact practices that teams conduct each week from two to one. The practice guidelines take effect six days before each team’s 2016 regular-season opening game and run through the final regular-season game or conference championship game.
The guidelines allow players who do not compete in a game in a particular week to participate in an additional live-contact practice to work on skill development and master proper techniques.
The committee made the recommendation during a teleconference Wednesday as a clarification to the inter-association consensus guidelines for in-season football practice contact that the NCAA’s Sport Science Institute helped develop in 2014.
The committee made the recommendation in an effort to improve player safety, believing it could decrease athlete exposure to concussion, including repeat concussion and overall head impact exposure. Data indicate that football players are more frequently diagnosed with sport-related concussion on days with an increase in frequency and higher magnitude of head impact.
Live-contact practices are defined as any practice that involves live tackling to the ground and/or full-speed blocking. A live-contact practice may occur in full pad or half pad (also known as “shell,” in which the player wears shoulder pads and shorts, with or without thigh pads). Live contact does not include “thud” sessions or drills that involve “wrapping up,” because in those scenarios players are not taken to the ground and contact is not aggressive in nature.
To assist schools with applying the definition, the committee also endorsed clarifying that a live-contact practice is any practice that involves players being taken to the ground.
The Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports is expected to recommend the same in-season, live-contact practice guidelines for Division II and Division III football programs.
The Ivy League will use an experimental rule for the 2016 football season to move kickoffs to the 40-yard line and touchbacks to the 20-yard line in an effort to reduce concussions and further promote the safety and welfare of its student-athletes.
“This experimental rule change is another example of The Ivy League leading the nation in concussion prevention,” said Executive Director Robin Harris. “Our data showed us that kickoffs result in a disproportionate number of concussions and this rule will allow us to assess whether limiting kickoff returns will reduce the incidence of concussions.”
The goal of the experimental rule is to limit kickoff returns, which account for 23.4 percent of concussions during games despite representing only 5.8 percent of overall plays. The League will evaluate the concussion and kickoff return data after the 2016 season. The request was made to the NCAA as a part of The Ivy League’s overall review of concussions, which began with football in 2010 and has included eight other sports to date (men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, wrestling, rugby). As a result of this comprehensive review of concussions, the League began an all-sports concussion data collection and study in 2013. Data from this study prompted discussion of kickoffs, which led to The Ivy League head football coaches suggesting this experimental rule change. The NCAA granted The League’s request for conference games only.
This experimental rule is the latest in a series of Ivy policies and rules that are designed to limit the incidence of concussions. Most recently in May, The Ivy League formally adopted another policy originating with the League’s eight head football coaches to eliminate to-the-ground (“live”) tackling in practices during the regular season, which will also go into effect with the 2016 campaign. Changing practice rules does not require NCAA approval.