BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)- It’s about that time. The click-clack of cleats, coaches shouting instructions, and, of course, hitting. Fall camps for high schools across the state open on Monday, but that last sound won’t be present on most fields. The AHSAA has issued guidelines for practices starting with Day One and going all through the season. “One or two skill players can make the difference in a win or loss, and they understand that,” says Drew Ferguson, Director of Sports Medicine at Children’s of Alabama.
The guidelines call for coaches to keep their players in shorts and helmets for the first two days, and to limit full contact (11-on-11) to ninety minutes. During the season, teams are advised to keep full contact to ninety minutes for the whole week.
Everyone suspects concussion when the wide receiver gets leveled by a safety, but the more subtle contact is what worries doctors. “It’s not just the one high force lick that we are concerned with,” says Ferguson. ”It’s the repetitive hit of the interior line, and the running back, and the tackler over time.” Dr. Robert Flannery with Lemak Sports Medicine and Orthopedics adds, “You’re never going to be able to completely take away injury in sport, especially head injury in a violent collision sport like football. Anything that you can do to limit the number of hits is going to reduce the number of concussions that you’re going to get.”
For a full break down of the new guidelines click here.