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06/12/2013

New Texas UIL rule on football practice reeks of political correctness

CONCUSSION102010In an effort to prevent injuries in football, which the game itself all but begs for by nature, the Texas University Interscholastic League is stepping in with some legislation that should do just about nothing.

This week the UIL will limit high school football team to 90 minutes of full-contact, game-speed practices per week during the season and playoffs. Most coaches were already doing this long before an employee of the great state a Texas proposed this rule.

The legislation sounds well intentioned, but this reeks more as a PC preventive measure against potential litigation than actually preventing injuries. This has an element of political grandstanding, not that our fearless elected leaders who ever do that.

Aledo high school coach Tim Buchanan said this rule, "Puts in writing what 99 percent of the coaches in the state of Texas have been practicing for years. Once we get into the season very few coaches go 90 minutes during the week. The rule is for the very small percentage that go out there and think they should knock heads for two or three hours a week. But I don't know anyone who does that, and I've never worked with anybody who did that."

Buchanan mentioned something specifically that I had never thought of - he wants to see more rules, and equipment enforcement, for 7 on 7.

"The worst concussions I have seen in my career have come in 7 on 7," he said. "Percentage wise, I think we have just as many in those as we do during the regular season. Most coaches I talk to want them to at least wear helmets."

The fear, of course, is that if you put pads and helmets on during 7 on 7 is that it becomes a regular game, which governing bodies are desperate to prevent. Sanctioning bodies don't want 7 on 7 high school football to turn into AAU basketball.

If the goal is to prevent injury with more legislation and rules, than 7 on 7 should be taken as seriously as anything else.

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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