It's that time of year again in Texas when fans fill stadiums to watch as the pigskin gets thrown around. This year in football however, the Texas state University Interscholastic League (UIL) has instituted new rules in an effort to reduce the risk of injuries in high school football. Made effective August 1, 2013, no football player is allowed to participate in full contact practices more than ninety minutes per week. Though football is a contact sport, constant repetition of hitting and tackling can have a less than desired effect on the bodies of young and older athletes. Following the new rules passed by the National Football League which included hitting, blocking and tackling, the UIL has given detailed instruction on how much "full contact" or "live action" can occur. USA football defines live action as contact at game speed where players complete full tackles taking players to the ground at a competitive pace. While full contact is limited to ninety minutes, a player may continue to dress in full pads during practice but only to participate in live action drills and game time simulations ninety minutes a week as well. Injuries are not uncommon in a contact sport, but by implementing newer safety guidelines officials at both the UIL and the National Football league hope to minimize the number. The new rules won't change the game. The desired effect for all involved is the reduction in unnecessary or avoidable injuries.
August 24, 2013