Double Win Practice Policies

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.


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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 44 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for seven years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is vice chair and secretary of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.