IBJNews

NCAA seeks injury reduction with fewer full-contact practices

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The National Collegiate Athletic Association suggested curbing full-contact football practices, echoing a policy instituted by the Ivy League in 2011.

The recommendation is among a set of guidelines created to “generate a cultural shift within college athletics,” the Indianapolis-based NCAA said on its website Monday. Other changes suggested are requirements for medical care and instructions for the diagnosis and management of sport-related concussions.

The guidelines follow six months of talks between the NCAA, the College Athletic Trainers’ Society, medical organizations, coaches and administrators.

“It’s consensus,” NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline said. “In terms of changing the culture around health and safety, that’s the best way to do it.”

Former football players are suing the NCAA over its handling of concussions and head trauma. A similar lawsuit against the National Football League led to a $765 million settlement that isn’t complete.

Under the new guidelines, football teams are supposed to have no more than two live contact practices a week during the regular season. That mirrors a policy implemented by the Ivy League three years ago and enacted by the Pac-12 Conference before last season.

During the preseason, teams can have a maximum of 12 live contact practices, with no more than one a day and four a week. Of the 15 allowable spring practice sessions, eight may allow live contact.

Discussions about safety in college football began in Atlanta in January at a summit that included trainers, neurologists and team physicians. The gathering also had representatives from major athletic conferences including the Big Ten, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12, Pac-12, Southeastern Conference and Ivy League.

“The opportunity to gather, at one table, the stakeholders from all disciplines in collegiate athletics, solely in the interest of student-athlete safety, is unprecedented,” said Scott Anderson, president of the College Athletic Trainers’ Society and head athletic trainer at the University of Oklahoma.

Under the revised guidelines, an athlete diagnosed with a concussion is not allowed to return to play in the current game or practice on the same day. Institutions must make their concussion management plans available to the public, and gradually ease injured students back into both athletics and academics.

Schools must also designate a licensed physician to serve as a liaison between athletes and health-care providers. Those groups should have “unchallengeable autonomous authority” over injury management and return-to-play decisions, according to the release.

The NCAA said the guidelines aren’t legislated rules and may be altered in the future as research continues to change the approach to player safety. In May, the governing body for college athletics announced a $30 million partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense to study concussion and other head trauma.

“Medicine really is a process that’s much more fluid, which led us to the guideline approach rather than pursuing legislation,” Hainline said. “The words we like to use are ‘living, breathing.’ We’d much rather have a living, breathing document that can shift based on emerging evidence.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
ADVERTISEMENT