Student Well-Being

Five Potential Changes to Make High School Football Safer

By Bryan Toporek — November 17, 2011 1 min read
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Last week, I took a look at whether youth football was playing a role in the fact that a far greater number of females matriculate to college than males each year.

At the end of the post, I promised what you’re about to read: a follow-up post with five suggested changes to high school football in the name of safety.

These suggestions stem from nearly a year’s worth of writing about youth football, student-athlete safety, and a whole boatload about concussions.

Without further adieu...

1. Stronger penalties for helmet-to-helmet hits: We’ll lead off with a pretty easy, self-explanatory one.

Last year, the NFL announced a league-wide crackdown on enforcing penalties (including suspensions) for illegal helmet-to-helmet hits. It’s started issuing fines in the tens of thousands of dollars, but hasn’t suspended a player under this policy to date.

Unless a helmet-to-helmet hit gets deemed a flagrant foul, the worst a youth-football player has to worry about is a 15-yard penalty. (If the helmet-to-helmet hit gets called a flagrant foul, the player is suspended from that game.)

Many would argue that needs to change.

The National Federation of State High School Associations issued a Point of Emphasis this year about concussions, where it noted that referees would be paying extra attention to illegal helmet-to-helmet hits this year. That’s a great start.

But why not put multi-game suspensions on the table for the most egregious helmet-to-helmet hits, too? Or require that coaches bench .

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