AHSAA Opts for ‘Wait and See’ Regarding Live Contact at School Practices

By Bill Newton

Apparently, the Alabama High School Athletic Association is bucking the trend and “will not formally restrict the amount of live hitting at football practices this year due to concussion concerns, instead choosing to continue studying the issue.”

The association, after hearing from “its medical advisory board about hitting restrictions” has “determined it wants more data and analysis.”

Said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese, “We’ve asked our medical advisory board to see what the NCAA comes out with, to see what other organizations come out with. I would say most of our coaches do an excellent job in this state with live hitting once the season starts. I don’t think there’s a lot of it that goes on.”

Since when does ‘I don’t think’ equate to, ‘I know for sure.’ This approach seems haphazard at best.

In Texas, there is a “recently adopted…rule preventing players from participating in more than 90 minutes of full-contact practice per week during the regular season and postseason.” Let’s applaud those folks from Texas. Somebody’s using the old noodle. Alabama, what’s your problem?

Even Pop Warner gets it. Its “study showed that the average second-grade football player sustained more than 100 head impacts over a period of roughly 10 practices and five games. The study reported that most of the hits were moderate, but some exceeded a force equivalent to a significant hit in college football.”

Even in high school an athlete’s brain is still developing. If you can shift the odds to minimize repeat concussions and preserve a kid’s gray matter, wouldn’t you do that?

Seems that there’s no justifiable reason for Alabama’s waffling. Step up to the plate guys and mandate a restriction on “live” hitting during the season. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

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