Changes coming to prep football’s preseason
The Iowa High School Athletic Association handed down a list of new guidelines for preseason football practices last week.
The main changes, which will go into effect this fall, were the elimination of two-a-day practices, limiting practices to three hours in length, and the addition of a preseason scrimmage with another school.
In addition, the new guidelines further limit the amount of contact during the first week of practice. Under the guidelines, during the first two days of practice helmets and mouth guards may be worn, but no activities that require protective equipment shall be done. During days three through five, helmets, mouth guards and shoulder pads may be worn and contact with blocking sleds, tackling dummies and technique drills for blocking and tackling may begin, but no full contact is allowed. Above-the-waist contact between players focusing on proper tackling and blocking techniques may occur. On the sixth day of practice, all protective equipment may be worn and full contact drills may begin.
The new measures incorporate many of the recommendations from research and studies by the medical community relative to the length of practice, the amount of contact in preseason drills, and the acclimization of young athletes.
In December, the new regulations were discussed and approved by the Football Playoff Committee, a group representing school administrators and the Iowa Football Coaches Association. The regulations were approved by the board of control and in March explained to the representative council.
Todd Tharp, assistant executive director at the IHSAA and the administrator for football noted, “We had great discussions with the football committee and representatives of the coaches association. The health and safety of athletes is always everyone’s number one priority and these new measures apply equally to all schools.”
Several states implemented many of the above measures in 2012.