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Poll: Should High School Football Programs Limit Live Contact Practice to Two Per Week?

On Monday, the NCAA released new guidelines for concussion safety, including limiting live contact football practices to two per week during the season.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon called Tuesday for high school football programs to follow in the footsteps of the NCAA, which is limiting live contact football practices to two per week during season to limit the chance of concussions.

Moon joined with state and education officials to screen videos demonstrating football techniques during a panel at UCLA, which was put on by the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program and Practice Like Pros.

"There's certain ways to play the game. You play the game full speed of course, but you don't have to beat up each other all week at practice to be ready to play the game," said Moon, who played for the Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos, Houston Oilers and three other NFL teams before becoming a broadcaster for the Seattle Seahawks.

On Monday, the NCAA released new guidelines for concussion safety, including limiting live contact football practices to two per week during the season. Moon said he wants high school programs to embrace those standards.

A majority of head trauma, up to 75 percent, in high school football is suffered during practice, not games, Moon said.

"These kids deserve a chance to go through college and maybe become pros one day," Moon said.

"If you're cutting that off as a high school player with all these concussions early in their lives, it cuts down on their chance to be successful."

Also included in the panel was Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, who introduced Assembly Bill 2127, which would limit high-impact contact in California high school football practice to three hours per week, within the already-approved guideline of 18 total hours of practice per week.

The bill has passed the Assembly and Senate and now awaits Gov. Jerry Brown's signature. If it is approved, California would become the 16th state in the past 16 months to restrict high school practice-field contact, according to Cooley.

"It used to be said you hadn't played football if you hadn't got your bell rung ... now we're starting to see the risks inherent in this great American game," Cooley said.

Cooley added that he believes the bill is supportive of football that will help youngsters develop a love of the game in a safe way.

"That is what this bill is about," Cooley said.

—City News Service

Jim Somers July 10, 2014 at 03:30 PM
Bill Walsh, whose name is familiar to every Bay Area football fan, limited his practices to zero contact practices per week. That's ZERO. His players appreciated it greatly, and his won-loss record speaks for itself.
Ken Kirby July 10, 2014 at 03:55 PM
Let's also introduce shadow boxing as an olympic sport.
Douglas Quaid July 10, 2014 at 04:08 PM
Glad to see limits (hopefully) being place on high school football. The research shows time and time again the damage being done to the human brain after consistent hits to the head. Minimizing the risk seems like the natural and best thing to do.
JMarsh July 10, 2014 at 05:15 PM
I totally agree with limiting the chance of brain trauma. One thing we need to remember is that junior high and high school students' brains are still developing.

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