Concussion Concerns: Ivy League Coaches Move to Ban Tackling at Football Practices

Health concerns about concussions in football continue. Ivy League football coaches recently voted to ban full-contact, tackling from football practices. The latest safety move — which would apply only to Ivy League universities — faces a process that includes approval by the athletic directors from the different Ivy League schools.

Past Safety Steps:

The proposed ban comes after a special committee recommended other safety steps that went into effect a few years ago in the Ivy League. The Ivy League safety committee included team physicians, head football coaches, athletic trainers, administrators and other university experts. The committee’s 2011 recommendations included:

• Fewer full-pad/contact practices.
• More training about correct tackling techniques.
• Additional education about concussion signs and the long-term effects of brain injuries.
• Heightened review of “helmet-to-helmet and targeted hits” by league officials.

Facts on Concussions

Concussions and repeated brain injuries due to sports have been linked to a variety of long-term physical and mental ailments in some athletes. Health effects include neurological disorders linked to depression, rage, addiction and suicide. Because of the publicity generated by concussions in the National Football League — and the lawsuit filed by thousands of retired NFL players against the league — more parents of student-athletes are becoming aware of the importance of education and vigilance among coaches and players.

A concussion is caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull. The injury usually alters how the brain functions — for a relatively short period of time in most cases. Except for possible cuts or bruises on the head or face, there may be no other visible signs of a concussion.

Concussion Symptoms

You don’t have to pass out, or lose consciousness, to have a concussion. Some people will suffer the more expected symptoms, such as passing out or short-term memory loss.
Symptoms include:
• Headaches.
• Dizziness/nausea.
• Balance issues
• Attention deficit problems.
• Trouble sleeping.
• Light/noise sensitivity.
• Emotional changes (sadness, anxiety).
• Memory difficulty.
• Fatigue.

Safety Moves in Florida

Last year, Florida became one of the first states in the country to require a concussion course for its high school student-athletes. Additionally, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) has pledged to conduct random checks throughout the school year. If coaches can’t provide proof of completion, they will be suspended until all players complete the course. Student-athletes on varsity and junior varsity levels, including for non-contact events such as golf, cross country and swimming, must also take the course.

Here are more articles about concussions:


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