Florida High School Athletic Association Limiting Contact During Football Practice This Season

By  //  June 9, 2016

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contact limited to 80 minutes per week

ABOVE VIDEO: Joe Girvan, Sports Director of WBBH News in Fort Myers gives his thoughts on The Florida High School Athletic Association announced new procedures Monday that will limit live contact during football practice. ( NBC 2 WBBH News Video )

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – The Florida High School Athletic Association announced Monday the implementation of procedures which limits live contact and improves player safety. The procedure goes into effect August 1, the first practice day of the 2016 season.

During the regular season, live contact will be restricted to 30 minutes per day and 80 minutes total per week. Live contact, defined as drills with game-like conditions where players are taken to the ground, will not occur on more than two consecutive days and may not exceed three practice days per week.

Dr. Roger Dearing
Dr. Roger Dearing

“Player safety has and will always be the number one goal of the FHSAA,” FHSAA Executive Director Dr. Roger Dearing said.

“Protecting our student-athletes is paramount in growing the game of football and this administrative procedure is a step in the right direction.”

From day six through Monday of the first regular season game (or end of spring practice), live contact will be limited to 40 minutes each day, with no more than two straight days of live contact. During two-a-days, only one practice shall include live contact and it shall not surpass 40 minutes.

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“The game of football will always come with some inherent risk, but we will never stop working to try and make one of the greatest team sports on earth safer,” FHSAA Football Administrator Frank Beasley said. 

“We will continue our efforts to educate and teach coaches on the Drive to December about how to run effective practices while using the limited-contact procedures.”

The FHSAA worked alongside Practice Like Pros founder Terry O’Neil in coming up with the procedure. With endorsements from NCAA Executive Vice President Oliver Luck, Dr. James Andrews of the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine and football legends such as Archie Manning, O’Neil has worked with high school associations nationally to improve player safety in America.

An excerpt from the letter of implementation of procedures which limits live contact and improves player safety (FHSAA Image)

“We thank leadership of the FHSAA for working with us on these practice-field restrictions,” O’Neil said. 

“As a trendsetter and a top-three football state, Florida sends this message nationally: In order to preserve the game we love on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons, let’s mitigate risk Monday through Thursday.

Kevin Mays
Kevin Mays

On a local Brevard County level, two of the areas top head coaches weighed in with their opinions. Viera Hawks head coach Kevin Mays, who led his team to the state finals last season says, “The new rule will not affect my team as much because we don’t have a lot of contact during practice during the season.”

Coach Mays’ team is connsidered an offensive juggernaut across the state while head coach John Wilkinson and his Cocoa Tigers, who won three staright State Titles from 2008-2010 and were nationally ranked in 2011 and 2012, leads a team known for hard hitting and great defenses.

John Wilkinson
John Wilkinson

“If it makes our players safer and keeps the amount of concussions down, I am all for it. As a team and coaching staff we will have to efficiently use our time to teach correct techniques,” Coach Wilkinson said of the new rule.

Ultimately, high school teams can and will practice like pros.”

CLICK HERE to read the policies regarding implementation of procedures that limits live contact and improves player safety.