Over the past five years, states across the nation have taken major steps to reduce contact during high school football practices. Now, New Jersey has taken the most restrictive steps.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association has passed a new set of rules that will reduce in-season practice contact to 15 minutes, reducing contact from its current level of 90 minutes. In addition, the new rules limit teams to six hours of full contact a week during the preseason. Scrimmages will count as one hour. Last year, there was no limit on full contact in the preseason. New Jersey doesn’t allow full-contact during the spring and summer months.
In a news release, the NJSIAA says the amount of contact is less than mandates or recommendations by the NFL, NCAA, Ivy League, USA Football, Pop Warner or any other football jurisdiction.
The changes were based on a proposal supported by Practice Like Pros, a national movement dedicated to reducing needless injury in high school football and the New Jersey Football Coaches Association (NJFCA).
“Congratulations and thank you to the NJSIAA and NJFCA,” said Terry
O’Neil, founder of Practice Like Pros. “The one certain way
to mitigate football injury is to limit contact in practice. New Jersey has
pioneered a model that is sure to be emulated across the country.”
“We thank Terry O’Neil and Practice Like Pros for educating us on this issue. When Practice Like Pros and our New Jersey coaches came to us jointly with this recommendation, it was not a difficult decision. The NJSIAA strives to be a leading state association in matters of health and safety for our student-athletes.”
The Michigan High School Athletic Association is also considering similar changes to its rules.