At its national conference this past weekend, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new recommendations for how to improve the safety of youth football, including coaches and officials enforcing current rules, limiting the number of head impacts, and expansion of non-tackling leagues.
In its policy statement, the academy reviewed a host of recent research to determine which changes could improve the safety of youth football. Particularly divisive was the issue of reducing the number of full-contact practices allowed on a weekly basis—something already happening in Ohio and California. While the National Federation of State High School Associations and researchers from the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine have called for limits on the number of full-contact football practices, the AAP’s position statement cites research suggesting a “decrease in time spent practicing proper tackling technique may lead to an increase in the magnitude of impacts during games and an increase in the risk of concussion.”
“It’s this paradox that makes it so important for leagues to teach proper tackling technique and skills to avoid and absorb tackles, even if no tackling occurs throughout the seasons,” said Dr. Greg Landry in a statement.
Some, such as Dr. Bob Cantu, the author of
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.