June is National Safety Month

There is so much concern and attention surrounding player safety and head trauma in contact sports, that provinces in Canada and many U.S. states are adopting stricter laws surrounding contact and return to play.

In 2014, The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) finalized its position paper from the NFHS Concussion Summit Task Force regarding minimizing the risk of concussions and head impact exposure in high school football.

The recommendations were shared with the 51 NFHS-member state high school associations, and approved by the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) and the NFHS Board of Directors with each state association planning to discuss and implement the guidelines starting in the 2015 football season.

With the importance of recovery time to help minimize concussion risks, full contact in consecutive sessions will no longer be permitted. Before this position paper came out, Texas had already begun limiting its players to 90 minutes of full-contact practice per week during the regular season and postseason back in 2013.


Here are a few other states enacting new laws based on the task force recommendations:

Florida: Live contact during regular season and postseason practice will be allowed no more than three days per week and limited to no more than 30 minutes per day and a total of no more than 80 minutes per week. Contact also is not allowed on more than two consecutive days.
The guidelines define live contact as “drills with game-like conditions where players are taken to the ground.” Read more >> https://www.fhsaa.org/news/2016/0606-0

Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association enacted a rule in the past that teams could only hit three days a week during the regular season. Two years ago, the PIAA passed a rule limiting hitting to 90 minutes a week. The new rule, approved in May 2016, limits hitting in practices to 60 minutes a week. Read more >> http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/highschool/2016/05/26/PIAA-further-limits-contact-in-high-school-football-practices/stories/201605260113

Ohio: In 2015, the Ohio High School Athletic Association adopted recommendations from the National Federation of State High School Associations Concussion Summit Task Force to reduce the risk of concussions and head impact exposure.

Under the guidelines, when there are two-a-day preseason practices, full contact is permitted only during one of the sessions. Contact with soft equipment, such as bags, shields, sleds, etc., does not count toward contact limitations. Only helmets are permitted on the first and second days of practice, shoulder pads can be added on days three and four, full pads may be worn on the fifth day and then full contact is permitted on the sixth day.

Practices following the first regular season game also have new rules. A player is limited to 30 minutes of full contact in practice per day, 60 minutes of full contact in practice per week and can be involved in full contact in a maximum of two practices in a seven-day span. Read more >> http://www.ohio.com/sports/high-school/ohsaa-agrees-with-recommendations-for-minimizing-concussion-risks-in-football-limits-placed-on-hitting-in-practices-1.607847

State associations in Iowa, Kansas, Georgia and Tennessee have also opted to limit full-contact practice to 90 minutes a week. Read more >> https://www.nfhs.org/articles/states-adopt-plans-to-limit-contact-in-football/

Ontario, Canada: After 17-year-old Ottawa rugby player Rowan Stringer died of ‘second impact syndrome’ in 2013, a jury laid out a list of 49 recommendations which are set to become law known as ‘Rowan’s Law’. The law, largely based on international concussion guidelines established in Switzerland, will provide education on sport-related concussions to athletes, coaches and parents, outline  when to remove an athlete from playing higher-risk sports if a concussion is suspected, ensure athletes don’t return to play until they’re medically cleared to do so, and ensure appropriate return to learn and return to play strategies. Read more >> http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/ottawa/rowans-law-passes-third-reading-parents-relieved-1.3620948

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