Tag Archives: practice

FHSAA Takes Steps to ‘Mitigate Risk (of Concussion) Monday through Thursday’

The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) announced earlier this week the implementation of procedures, which it hopes will limit live contact and improve player safety. The procedure goes into effect August 1, the first practice day of the 2016 season.

During the regular season, live contact will be restricted to 30 minutes per day and 80 minutes total per week. Live contact, defined as drills with game-like conditions where players are taken to the ground, will not occur on more than two consecutive days and may not exceed three practice days per week.2012-12-08 13.48.45

Furthermore, from day six through the Monday of the first regular season game (or end of spring practice), live contact will be limited to 40 minutes each day, with no more than two straight days of live contact. During two-a-days, only one practice shall include live contact and it shall not surpass 40 minutes.

“The game of football will always come with some inherent risk, but we will never stop working to try and make one of the greatest team sports on earth safer,” FHSAA Football Administrator Frank Beasley said. “We will continue our efforts to educate and teach coaches on the Drive to December about how to run effective practices while using the limited-contact procedures.”

The FHSAA worked alongside Practice Like Pros founder Terry O’Neil in coming up with the procedure. With endorsements from NCAA Executive Vice President Oliver Luck, Dr. James Andrews of the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine and football legends such as Archie Manning, O’Neil has worked with high school associations nationally to improve player safety in America.

“As a trendsetter and a top-three football state, Florida sends this message nationally,” said O’Neil. “In order to preserve the game we love on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons, let’s mitigate risk Monday through Thursday.”

Posted in Football, General, High School | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on FHSAA Takes Steps to ‘Mitigate Risk (of Concussion) Monday through Thursday’

USA Football Defines and Set Limits on Full Contact

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an article published yesterday by USA Football about its new youth tackle football practice guidelines)

New youth tackle football practice guidelines from USA Football have been endorsed by leading medical organizations and include clear definitions of contact and time limits on player-to-player full contact.

USA Football’s National Practice Guidelines for Youth Tackle Football define levels of contact and set a 30-minute time limit on full contact within a practice session.5011227045_4df2341d87

The guidelines also provide youth football organizations with heat acclimatization procedures set forth by the Korey Stringer Institute and a recommendation on the number of practices per week (maximum of four during preseason and three during regular season). Two-a-day practices are prohibited at any time during the preseason or regular season. In addition, athletes are permitted to drink fluids at any time during a practice beyond designated breaks. USA Football’s youth practice guidelines are freely accessible to all youth football organizations athttp://usafootball.com/practiceguidelines.

USA Football’s youth practice guidelines are the first to earn the endorsement of national and international medical organizations: the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM). These three leaders in medicine are composed of more than 85,000 physicians, scientists, researchers, educators, sports medicine specialists and certified athletic trainers across 90 countries.

USA Football’s Levels of Contact focus on varying levels of resistance throughout practices to build players’ confidence, further strengthen on-field safety and mitigate physical and mental exhaustion.

USA Football defines full contact as any drill conducted at Thud or Live Action within its Levels of Contact. USA Football’s Levels of Contact also are employed in high school football practice guidelines created by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in 2014.

The varying levels of contact – Air, Bags, Control, Thud and Live Action – are used to introduce players to practice drills, which help them to master the fundamentals and increase skill development in a progressive manner.

USA Football is the national governing body of the sport and educates more high school and youth football coaches combined than any organization in the United States.

“The safety of every young athlete is a priority for the American College of Sports Medicine,” ACSM President Dr. Carol Ewing Garber said. “USA Football’s practice guidelines for youth tackle football, created in collaboration with medical leaders, marks a watershed moment for youth sports. Identifying guidelines for heat acclimatization and defining levels of contact with time limits are critical. Not only are young athletes safer by learning the fundamentals in a smarter way, but monitoring levels of contact and heat acclimatization also advances their well-being. This is leadership one would expect from a national governing body of sport, and ACSM endorses these guidelines.”

“NATA has been a proud supporter of the USA Football Heads Up Football program and its specific focus on concussion awareness, Heads Up Tackling, equipment fitting and coaches certification,” NATA President Jim Thornton said. “USA Football’s new practice guidelines, as well as its Heads Up Football program, certainly reinforce our own safety messages and our commitment to keep young athletes as safe as possible. NATA applauds USA Football’s continued work to advance youth sports safety, particularly for the young athletes who participate in tackle football nationwide.”

“The safety of our youth in sports is vitally important,” American Medical Society for Sports Medicine President Dr. Chris Madden said. “AMSSM recognizes there is a limited amount of data available to guide proper heat acclimatization and to reduce head injuries in this young age group. We applaud USA Football for taking steps in the right direction with these guidelines, which are based on expert opinion, to help our youth stay safe during structured football practices. AMSSM is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all athletes, and our endorsement of these guidelines aligns us with USA Football in this important pursuit.”

USA Football’s Levels of Contact:

Air Players run a drill unopposed without contact.
Bags Drill is run against a bag or another soft-contact surface.
Control Drill is run at assigned speed with a predetermined “winner” assigned by the coach. Contact remains above the waist, and players stay on their feet.
Thud Drill is run at competitive speed until the moment of contact. There is no pre-determined “winner.” Contact remains above the waist, and players stay on their feet.
Live Action Drill is run in game-like conditions and is the only time that players are taken to the ground.


USA Football’s Levels of Contact guidelines are easily transferable to the field through USA Football’s practice planner, delivering more efficient practice sessions, which contribute to safer play. USA Football’s practice planner informs coaches if their practice plan is within the prescribed amount of 30 minutes of full contact with a green-light graphic or if it exceeds that amount with a red-light graphic (USA Football practice planner example below).

USA Football’s National Practice Guidelines for Youth Tackle Football were comprised with guidance from its Medical Advisory Committee, chaired by Dr. Stanley Herring, and its Football Advisory Committee, chaired by Pro Football Hall of Famer and ESPN NFL analyst Bill Polian. Herring is among the country’s leading experts in sport-related concussion and is a medical progenitor for public policy advancing head-safe play. Polian, the grandfather of youth football players, has dedicated his career to the sport and today helps lead its continued development through independent nonprofit USA Football.

Posted in Football, General, High School | Tagged , , | Comments Off on USA Football Defines and Set Limits on Full Contact

ECNL Club Bans Repetitive Heading Drills for 13U and Younger Teams

There are some 60 or so soccer clubs that make up the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), which is the most prestigious grouping of youth soccer clubs in the nation.header

At least one of those clubs, Lone Star SC, has taken it upon itself to ban repetitive heading drills in practices. The club, which is based in Austin, communicated the following to parents on its concussion page:

“Effective Sept the 1st, 2014, Lonestar Soccer Club is implementing an indefinite ‘ban’ on repetitive heading practices for all U’13 and younger teams. All coaches at the Recreational, JR. Academy and Select Levels of play will be responsible for ensuring the successful implementation of this ban. Please note that heading the ball is a part of the game of soccer, and heading the ball is not being ‘banned’ completely at these age groups, just any form of repetitive ‘heading’ practice exercises, e.g. players in pairs serving the ball to each other repetitively, over and over again to perform headers. Examples of scenarios where you could still see heading in training sessions, from players at the U13 and younger age groups include, but are not limited to: Any small sided or full sided game, crossing and finishing sessions, set piece exercises.”

The club also discussed the importance of baseline testing on its “concussion page,” and the fact that it is exploring “optional” testing for players. For more, visit: http://www.lonestar-sc.com/UserFiles/files/PDF’s%20Fall%202014/LSC%202014-15%20Concussion%20%26%20’Baseline%20Testing’%20Policy%20.pdf


Posted in General, High School, Other Sports | Tagged , , | Comments Off on ECNL Club Bans Repetitive Heading Drills for 13U and Younger Teams