Texas Politician Seeks Limits on Full-Contact Practices During Football Season

Texas State Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, is rapidly becoming the go-to-guy when it comes to concussion reform in his state.

Most recently, Lucio filed legislation that would reduce violent collisions in high school and middle school football by restricting full-contact practices during the season to just once a week.

The University Interscholastic League, which governs extracurricular activities for Texas’ public schools, already limits full-contact practices during the off-season. Lucio believes that is not enough.

As evidence, he cites a Purdue University study, which found that repeated blows to the head still change brain activity, even if individually none of the hits would have caused a concussion.

“If you don’t allow a muscle or bone to heal, it’s going to break,” he said. “The same thing is relative to the brain. It can only heal itself at a certain rate, and any additional hits could cause more damage.”

Some high school coaches, however, told the Austin American-Statesman that fewer full-contact practices could actually increase concussion risks, since players may need repetition when it comes to using a safe tackling technique.

“If you only practice those (fundamentals) once a week, you are moving in the opposite direction of what logic would tell you,” Joe Willis, head football coach and athletic coordinator at Cedar Park High School, told the paper. “A kid can’t learn without the experimentation phase.”

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