Wisconsin football practice concussions on the decline
Sports scientist Tim McGuine and others at the UW School of Medicine and Public health spent the last three years researching concussion prevention. The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association in 2014 approved stricter regulations on contact during practices, and there was a noticeable drop in the number of players suffering head injuries.In 2013, 9% of players suffered concussions, but that number dropped to 7.1% the following year.
“The risk of concussion was probably lower than we expected in high school football,” McGuine told WKOW in Madison. “Once these athletes were told they had a concussion the school officials, the athletic trainers and coaches kept them out for a long period of time to make sure it was safe for them to return.”
Football coaches across the state said they’re generally happy with the new policies restricting contact during practices.
“I don’t think it’s limiting us. I think it allows coaches to be a little bit more creative,” McFarland football coach Paul Ackley said.
Since the regulations took place Ackley said his players have spent more time in the film room, weight room and also more time performing low contact drills. He says they’re still learning the fundamentals of the game despite the fact that they can’t spend as much time making contact in their pads.
“We’re lucky we have such a great research establishment so close to us,” Ackley explains. “Coaches need to jump on board with this and help protect their kids.“