Oregon's High School Sports Source
- Written by Andy Wooldridge (CCCougarfan)
- Published on September 7, 2011
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Contact Could Be Curtailed
The OSAA Executive Board on Tuesday tabled a decision on the proposal to limit summer football practices until their Dec. 5 meeting. The delay was primarily intended to allow for clarification, refinement, and review of language, but it isn't likely that substantial change is in the works.
“It certainly wasn’t voted down,” OSAA assistant executive director Peter Weber said of the decision. “I think the board is in favor of it, they just want to make sure they get it right.”
Next week, on Sept. 12, the OSAA Executive Board meets for a work session on Sunday, and an open meeting on Monday, at OSAA Headquarters in Wilsonville. Most of the items on the agenda amount to administrative housekeeping. But there is an item that could impact the way your team conducts its off-season football preparation.
The Medical Aspects of Spots Committee is sending before the Executive Board a proposal that will define in fairly narrow terms how teams can conduct contact drills during the approximately 2 month long period from Memorial Day until the start of moratorium week, around the start of August.
If adopted, schools would be allowed only 8 days of practice, and more contraining, those days would have to be conducted in a 10 day window. Which means about 50 days can't be used for such activities.
The proposal also requires that the first 3 days be "non contact" sessions, where players can wear only helmets and shoulder pads, in an acclimation period.
The proposed revised policy would not apply to 7 on 7 passing leagues, which are typically conducted without pads.
The requirement for an acclimation period is common sense, one practiced at the high and college levels nation wide that recognizes the need to ramp up and adjust to the rigors of contact.
While the concerns of the committee about the potential health impacts of contact workouts, especially during the summer, especially given the variety of problem incidents that have arisen across the country in recent years, including the episode at McMinnville last year, are understandable, its worth remembering that there are restrictions regarding heat indexes, and language about conditioning and hydration exists, and applies year round.
The proposed new restrictions would greatly restrict the total amount of time that could be spent on practice activities, an odd move at a time when the poor level of fundamentals evident during the season, and the poor fundamentals seen in players arriving at the next level, have put on display a need for more instruction, not less.
Further, even if a program didn't want to conduct more practices than this suggestion provides for, it is restrictive as to scheduling and structure, which would to seem to serve no purpose, and could effectively reduce supervised instruction for logistics reasons in some cases. If other scheduling concerns, for example, made spreading the 8 practices out over even just 2 weeks, then it could become necessary to cut back the total number of days of practice to stay within the arbitrary 10 day window.
Also, by restricting and reducing practice under the supervision of coaches and trainers, it seems like there could be an unintended consequence. An increase in sessions that are either unsupervised, or conducted by uncontrolled third parties could not only occur, it seems it would be likely.
Either scenario has the potential for increased injuries, as well as a variety of other problems.
Coaches at both the high school and college level have been lamenting the issues that are arising when they do not have contact with their players, including both off-field issues and on-field fundamentals. This latest restriction, if approved, would seem to make coaches and trainers' jobs harder, and at the expense of the the very student athletes it apparently intends to serve and protect.