Student Well-Being

Few States Meeting Guidelines for H.S. Football Concussion Prevention

By Bryan Toporek — November 21, 2016 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In 2014, the National Federation of State High School Associations released guidelines to reduce head impact and limit concussion risk in high school football. Two years later, only 12 of 50 states are meeting even three of the five recommendations, while six aren’t adhering to any of them, according to a recent report from two concussion-policy advocates.

The report authors awarded compliance points to each state for adhering to the NFHS’ guidelines for preseason contact limits, regular-season contact limits, an offseason contact ban, a limit on the maximum number of quarters for athletes per week, and heat acclimatization. During the preseason, the national organization recommended limiting contact practices to no more than one per day, having a maximum of two consecutive contact practice days, and placing a time limit on the amount of contact practice allowed within a given day. In the regular season, the NFHS suggested limiting contact practices to 60-90 minutes per week, holding no more than 30 minutes of contact practice in a given day, and only holding 2-3 contact practices per week.

Twelve states, including Alabama, California, Georgia, and Wisconsin, are in compliance with at least two of the three preseason recommendations, while 19 meet two of the three regular-season guidelines. The restriction on offseason contact is far more widely adopted, as all but 12 states ban it during the spring and all but 14 do so during the summer. Thirty-eight states have some form of a limit on the number of quarters per athlete each week, although a majority exceed the recommended five quarters. When it comes to having a heat acclimatization policy, only 17 states meet the NFHS guidelines of prohibiting full contact for the first five days of preseason and allowing for conditioning for heat.

“As much as we want to encourage fitness and teamwork, reducing unnecessary risk is common sense,” said Dorothy Bedford, one of the authors of the report and a former school board member in New Jersey, in a statement. “Students deserve to complete their high school football careers with brains intact, ready for further studies, the workplace, or military service, plus healthy personal relationships. Lasting concussion symptoms may adversely impact all aspects of personal and family life.”

Based on their findings, the two report authors sent a letter to the NFHS, imploring them to issue rules for concussion prevention rather than recommendations. Beyond that, they also suggested the NFHS create rules that are more clearly defined and enforceable, as “current attempts to reduce exposure, in the form of limited contact practices, specific rules governing preseason” and others, “are not always well-defined, and therefore not always enforced.” That means, for instance, implementing a clear limit on the amount of time allowable in contact practices or banning players from playing both offense and defense, which doubles their exposure to head trauma.


Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Opinion What 9/11 Can Teach Us Today
We can only guess at what weighs on other people. Hurts and wounds are not always visible on the outside.
Pamela Cantor
1 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Getty
Student Well-Being Opinion Educators, Be Future-Ready, But Don’t Ignore the Present
Being ready for what lies ahead is important, but we also need to gain a better understanding of the here and now.
5 min read
shutterstock 226918177
Shutterstock
Student Well-Being Opinion How to Prioritize Student Well-Being This Year
Use the Student Thriving Index to find out where your kids stand. Because you cannot manage what you cannot measure.
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Getty
Student Well-Being Spotlight Spotlight on Supporting Teachers & Students
In this Spotlight, evaluate your district and what supports your schools offer, assess attendance policies to avoid burnout, and more