Sunday, July 24, 2011

My take on Ivy League's proactive stance on concussions

I have read the report regarding the Ivy League's review of concussions suffered in football games and practices.

While I applaud the initiative, I see the limitations of full-contact drills to be much ado about nothing.

Let's take the new guidelines and requirements.

1) Limiting full-contact drills in practice during the season to two days.
I can't speak for the other Ivy League schools, but at Yale Sunday is normally reserved for film study while Monday is an off day. Friday tends to be little more than a glorified walk through, allowing final preparations to be put into play. That leaves three days when full-contact drills could transpire. I don't make it to every practice but the ones I go attend, I rarely see full-contract drills. Sure the offensive and defensive linemen will go at it but you will not see a linebacker coming up to light up a running back. I don't believe there will be any less intensity at Yale's Tuesday-Thursday practices in the upcoming season than I have witnessed in the last couple of years.

2) Reductions by one the number of allowable full-contact practices during the spring
The story is pretty much the same as Yale stresses execution and intensity in practice over brute strength so the Bulldogs should be able to get as much accomplished under the new guidelines as they did in the past.

3) In the preseason, teams will be limited to one practice in full pads during two a day sessions.
This is the one rule that could have the most impact but in the long run, league coaches should be able to deal with these new restrictions.

4) Greater time and attention devoted to the teaching and emphasis on proper techniques for avoiding hits to the helmets
I'm not sure that a committee needs to be formed to come up a teaching point of not having as many hits to the head. I also know that the most prominent helmet to helmet hit of the 2010 season was the one between Yale's Jesse Reising and Harvard's Gino Gordon. No amount of legislation can figure in the instinctive moves that occur on the football field including those by both Reising and Gordon leading to the crushing hit which knocked both players out of the football game.

5) Continued adjustment to practice plans when depth at a given position is low to reduce the number of hits experienced by a particular player
This one actually made me laugh. Obviously if a team has been hit by injuries at a particular position, the last thing they are going to do is put healthy players at that position in harm's way.

6) Adherence to recommended guidelines for in-season, full-pad, contact practice sessions
Considering that every Ivy League school was represented by either football coaches or medical personnel on this committee, obviously it is an issue being taken seriously by each and every school. I fully expect all the coaches to adhere to the guidelines and continue to look out for the best interest of their players.

I do not want anybody to think I am taking this issue lightly because nothing could be further from the truth but I just don't see where the committee did anything but ask the Ivy League football coaches to continue the practices they have be utilizing in year's past.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be very helpful for the Yale players to practice the correct procedures for tackling-especially for the corner backs and the safeties. Their tackling in the past has not been very good.

8:28 PM 

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