Considerable attention is being given to the issue of limiting the amount of contact that occurs during practices in an effort to reduce the possibility of concussion. Although there is limited research on the incidence of concussion during practices at present, there is a growing body of data that supports less person-to-person contact to reduce injuries in general. The NFL, NCAA, several major college football conferences such as the Ivy League and the Pac-12, and several state high school associations have adopted rules, regulations or recommendations to limit contact during practice sessions.
CIAC believes that schools would be well advised to review the amount of full contact practice time that generally occurs during practice and to limit such contact whenever possible. The document below includes several examples of what has been instituted in the programs mentioned above. Of particular interest are the policies and/or recommendations of the Alabama and Texas State High School Associations.
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Also, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has partnered with USA Football to advance player safety through endorsing USA Football’s Heads Up Football program with the hope that all state association member schools will adopt the program by 2014. Further, The CIAC Football Committee and the Connecticut State Medical Society Committee on the Medical Aspect of Sports will be addressing this issue and forwarding recommendations to the CIAC Board of Control for consideration.
Lastly, please note the following regarding NOCSAE certification of football helmets and how after market can alter the equipment and void compliance.
On July 16, the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) released a statement on third party football helmet add-on products and certification. The release includes language from the NOCSAE Board of Directors relating to how after-market items can alter the equipment’s certification of compliance with the NOCSAE standard. The board’s position reads:
“NOCSAE helmet standards are specific to models which are identical in all aspects, except as to size. The testing required to support the certification is also specific to the model being certified. NOCSAE standards require that any change in configuration, padding, shell geometry, or protective system requires a new model designation with separate certification testing. The addition of after-market items by anyone that changes or alters the protective system by adding or deleting protective padding to the inside or outside of the helmet, or which changes or alters the geometry of the shell or adds mass to the helmet, whether temporary or permanent, voids the certification of compliance with the NOCSAE standard.”