Limiting tackling during high school football practices can significantly reduces players’ concussion rates, a new study indicates.
In 2014, new rules about tackling during football practice were introduced for Wisconsin high schools.
Full contact was banned during the first week of practice, and limited to 75 minutes during the second week. After that, full contact during practice was capped at 60 minutes for every week. Full contact means that tackles are made at a competitive level and players are taken to the ground, the researchers explained.
The number of concussions that occurred during practice was more than twice as high during the two seasons before the new rules began, the study said.
The findings were to be presented Saturday at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Research presented at meetings are generally viewed as preliminary until they’ve been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
“This study confirms what athletic trainers who work with high school football programs have long believed regarding the association of full contact drills or practices and the likelihood a player will sustain a concussion,” study author Timothy McGuine, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in an academy news release.
McGuine said the possibility of other football injuries, such as sprains, fractures and dislocations, should also drop due to the new practice rules.
“Educating high school coaches to limit the amount of full contact would be an effective and economical way to help protect students from head injuries,” McGuine concluded.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about concussion.