Last Friday, the MHSAA Representative Council adopted the proposals of the Football Task Force revising practice policies that take effect this fall, helping Michigan schools keep pace with an advancing standard of care – a standard that is reducing head-to-head contact in football practice on every level and in every league.
Michigan’s Football Task Force proposal – the result of four meetings during 2013 and much research and work between them – reduces collision practices to one a day before the first game and to two per week after the first game.
A collision practice is one in which there is live, game-speed, player-vs-player contact in pads (not walk-throughs) involving any number of players. This includes practices with scrimmages, drills and simulation where action is live, game-speed, player-vs-player.
A non-collision practice may include players in protective gear. Blocking and tackling technique may be taught and practiced. However, full-speed contact is limited to players versus pads, shields, sleds or dummies.
The new policies also increase the acclimatization period at the start of fall practice from three days to four days – helmets only permitted on the first two days, helmets and shoulder pads only on the third and fourth days.