A recent article discussed a change by an NCAA football conference that is designed to prevent some of the physical and legal damage that concussions have caused in the NFL. The Pac-12 announced earlier this month that it would begin reducing physical contact during practices across the conference and will eventually issue specific guidelines detailing exactly how many full-contact practices are permitted each week.
The move means that the conference will be keeping track of how many times teams put their players in full pads for full contact plays during practice. Experts think the decision will not go over well with coaches who likely resent being told how to manage their teams. However, the risks posed by concussions override the concerns of coaches given how much the threat has already cost the NFL.
The NCAA understands that no helmet has been designed to totally prevent concussions meaning there is no way to use equipment to avoid the problem of head trauma. As a result, teams will have to mitigate the dangers of concussion themselves. Two years ago, the Ivy League took the first steps to reduce the opportunities for concussion damage among players by limiting teams to two full-contact practices per week during the season.
Though the Pac-12 has not yet come up with an official number for how many practices will be tolerated each week, some are already complaining that the number seems arbitrary. Whether it’s once a week or three times a week, coaches believe they should have the final say over how many times their team needs to practice. By taking the decision away from the coaches, the argument is that the team’s performance may suffer. Others have worried that because the Pac-12 is moving alone on the matter it might put the teams at a competitive disadvantage when compared to other conferences that allow longer and more grueling practice sessions.
Though some in the college football world complain about the mandate, the fact is the NCAA has not had to deal with any of the issues the NFL has faced. No similar concussion lawsuit has been waged against the NCAA, yet, and officials with the Pac-12 say taking action now is a good way to demonstrate good faith action and also an attempt to limit the number of players down the line suffering from the harms associated with traumatic brain injuries. If cutting down on the number of full contact practices helps save players from decades of dementia it will certainly be worth it.
Pope McGlamry P.C., currently represents former professional football players and their families for injuries and damages sustained as a result of suffering concussions while playing professional football and is actively involved in the current concussion litigation. If you or someone you love has been injured during your professional football career, you may be entitled to compensation.
Source: “Growing concussion threat: Pac-12 will reduce contact in practices,” by Dennis Dodd, published at CBSSports.com.
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