Arizona to Limit Contact in High School Football

The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) Executive Board voted in favor late last week of implementing a recommendation from the AIA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC), which will limit contact during football practice in the pre and regular seasons. The recommendation was made to further reduce concussions and other brain injuries, according to the association, which noted that it was “the first state high school association in the nation to take this proactive step towards safety and protect student athletes.”

Association Executive Director Chuck Schmidt said: “With so much information coming to light from the medical community, the AIA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee felt our policies should extend beyond officiated games in dealing with concussion prevention. Our top priority is to ensure the safety of our students so we are pleased with the Executive Board’s decision.”

The rule specifies that “no more than 1/2 of football practice be contact practice in the pre-season and no more than 1/3 of practice time be contact practice during the regular season. Contact is defined as padded athletes in contact with each other.”

In 2011, the AIA passed a rule “to ensure that kids and their gear are appropriately inspected before they can get back in the game if their helmet is dislodged during play,” according to the association. “The National Federation of High School Associations adopted a similar rule after seeing the results produced from the AIA’s decision.”

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