Ivy League votes to eliminate tackling at football practices

March 1, 2016 / Athletic AdministrationFootball
Ivy League schools voted last week to eliminate tackling from football practices during the regular season, a significant step in the fight against sports injuries.

IvyLeagueThe new approach is one already embraced by Dartmouth, where the team uses a mobile tackling dummy at all practices. Coach Buddy Teevens said during this year’s American Football Coaches Association’s annual convention that the strategy has significantly reduced concussions and helped to keep players fresh.

From The New York Times:

“At this stage in their careers, these guys know how to hit and take a hit,” Mr. Teevens said in a phone interview. “People look at it and say we’re nuts. But it’s kept my guys healthy.”

The Ivy League — which consists of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale — has been one of the most aggressive college conferences in addressing the risks associated with the collisions that are endemic to the game. In 2011, the league sharply reduced the number of full-contact practices teams could hold, going beyond the rules set by the NCAA at the time.

The league also reviewed the rules governing men’s and women’s hockey, lacrosse and soccer to determine if there were ways to reduce hits to the head and concussions in those sports.

States have implemented their own contact restrictions at the high school level, and leagues like Pop Warner and even the NFL have taken their own measures to reduce head trauma. Dartmouth developed its own mobile tackling dummy to help simulate player movements while keeping teammates from hitting one another.

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