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AHSAA releases practice contact recommendations

Published 6:23pm Friday, August 2, 2013

The Alabama High School Athletic Association released a new set of recommendations for football programs going into fall practice next week.

The AHSAA recommends that teams do not exceed 90 minutes of full contact, 11-on-11 practices during most of the upcoming season. Only the second and third weeks of fall practice allow up to 120 minutes.

The recommendations are an effort to cut down on concussions and other head injuries.

Demopolis head football coach Tom Causey said it won’t affect the way his team practices.

“The way we practice, we were pretty much doing what they want anyway,” Causey said. “We weren’t going over 90 minutes a week with that before this came out.”

Causey added that he thinks the AHSAA is trying to protect the game as well as the kids.

“What they’re doing isn’t hurting the game,” he said.

“It’s a contact sport, and there’s no way to avoid that, but I’m scared that we’re getting away from what makes this game great. I don’t think they want to remove the physicality from the game, though.”

He said it has always been his experience that the most physical team has the best chance to win in most games, and he doesn’t want the advantage to be taken away from the more physical teams.

The AHSAA’s recommendations are as follows:

•Week 1: Per AHSAA rules, the first two days of fall practice should be in shorts and helmets. Shoulder pads and helmets are allowed on the third practice day for a period that doesn’t exceed 90 minutes of total practice time.

The AHSAA recommends that shoulder pads and helmets be used on the fourth practice day for a period of time that doesn’t exceed 120 minutes of total practice time. One full contact practice of 11-on-11 not exceeding 90 minutes is recommended for the fifth practice day.

•Week 2: Alternating days of full contact practice that doesn’t exceed a combined total of 120 minutes of 11-on-11 full contact per week. One intra-squad scrimmage would be allowed in this week.

•Week 3: Alternating days of full contact practice that doesn’t exceed a combined total of 120 minutes of 11-on-11 full contact practice per week. One interscholastic scrimmage would be allowed this week.

•Week 4 through the end of the season: 90 minutes of 11-on-11 full contact practice per week.

•Spring evaluation: Alternating days of full contact practice that doesn’t exceed a combined total of 120 minutes of 11-on-11 full contact practice per week. One interscholastic scrimmage would be allowing during the spring evaluation.

In addition to defining full contact, the AHSAA defined other terms for the purposes of its guidelines:

•Live Action: Contact at game speed where players execute full tackles at a competitive pace, taking players to the ground.

•Air: Players should run unopposed without bags or any opposition.

•Bags: Activity is executed against a bag, shield or pad to allow for a soft-contact surface, with or without the resistance of a teammate or coach standing behind the bag.

•Wrap: Drills run at full speed until contact, which is above the waist with the players remaining on their feet.

•Thud: Same as a wrap but the tempo is competitive with no pre-determined winner and the players are not tackling to the ground.

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