If they can, why can’t we?
I mean, if rule changes could decrease the incidence of concussions by such a large number, every school and sports organization must look into it.
So, what was this targeted rule change that had such a large beneficial effect in lowering risk?
The rule change took effect in 2014 after which researchers compared the concussion rate and number of head injuries of 2,000 high school football players in the 2 years before introducing the rule change with that of over 900 players that played the season after the change.
What did they find?
Concussion rate after rule change – 15 per 1000 practices.
Concussion rate before rule change – 86 per 1000 practices.
The biggest strategy introduced by WIAA (Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association) in this rule change was to limit what players could do during practice i.e.
- No full contact during the first week.
- Only 75 mins of contact / week during week 2.
- Only 60 mins of contact/week during week 3.
It’s a well-known fact that every mechanism of injury leading to concussion in football involves some form of contact be it helmet to helmet collision, helmet to body collision or to some extent, helmet to field collision.
Hence, the results may feel like we are sort of stating the obvious here.
However, this study, posted on the American Journal of Sports Medicine is so hopeful in contrast to the grim state of affairs in school football now a days. This data collected can definitely be used by parents to advocate for the safety of their children in their respective school districts.
Well some of us are wondering, taking contact away from a sport like football is almost like taking away the essence of the game and some opponents also argued about poor technique being a consequence,
To me, safety comes first!