The MHSAA’s third health and safety thrust for the next four years focuses on practice rules, especially early in the fall season.
Here we will be especially interested in finding “double wins,” that is, policies that simultaneously enhance acclimatization and reduce head contact.
In football, for example, this could mean increasing the number of days without protective pads before the first practice in full pads. Michigan requires three days, but there’s a trend toward four or five days in other states.
Football might also limit any day to a single practice in pads, following the lead of colleges and a growing number of state high school associations that are restricting two-a-day practices in pads on the same day or on consecutive days.
Both of these changes could make acclimatization more gradual and healthy, and reduce the occurrences for contact to the head: two priorities as practice policies are reviewed and revised.
The MHSAA’s sport committees, sometimes with their work augmented by that of special task forces, are being charged with these responsibilities.