Mar 2, 2016Ivy League Bans Full-Contact Practice
Last week, football coaches from all eight Ivy League schools unanimously voted to ban all full-contact hitting from practices in an effort to reduce the risk of concussions among players.
According to The New York Times, the new rule was partially inspired by Dartmouth’s efforts to reduce concussions. Starting a few years ago, Coach Buddy Teevens has had Dartmouth players practice tackling on dummies and pads, rather than each other. He said that some feared this would make the team less competitive, but he has found that the new form of practice has actually helped improve the team.
“At this stage in their careers, these guys know how to hit and take a hit,” Mr. Teevens said in a phone interview. “People look at it and say we’re nuts. But it’s kept my guys healthy.”
Does less hitting in practice actually result in fewer concussions? The article cites a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin that analyzed results from a rule that forbids full contact in the season’s first week, and allows no more than 75 minutes in the second week, and 60 minutes per week for each week after that. This was found to cut the number of concussions in half.
“It’s verification that this approach is a way to make the game safer,” said Alison Brooks, an assistant professor in the department of orthopedics and rehabilitation at Wisconsin and a co-author of the study. “It is a real effect of the rule change.”