PORT ARTHUR — What’s the definition of full contact?
That’s the question that many area coaches have to be asking themselves as the University Scholastic League’s Medical Advisory Committee recommended a policy on Sunday that football teams are limited to 90 minutes of full-contact, game-speed practice per player per week.
That recommendation still has steps to go before becoming a rule, as it has to get voted on by the UIL Legislative Council in June and then approved by the state’s commissioner of education. The ruling seems to be in response to House Bill 887, filed by State Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, which sought to limit full-contact practice to once a week as a way to reduce concussion risks.
Since the Medical Advisory Committee’s inception in 2001, all of its recommendations have been approved.
“Anything that can make the game safer is a good thing,” Nederland head coach Larry Neumann said. “The nature of this sport is risky. We train our players to be durable and to stand up to the rigors of the game, both in the offseason and through our practices. It’s not just about being bigger, stronger and faster, it’s about being able to endure. We’d have to see how they define full-contact, because that definition can vary coach by coach.”
No high school coach wants his players injured. That’s why many already limit the amount of contact in practice, so that injuries don’t pop up unexpectedly in a drill.
Of all the questions surrounding this measure, the biggest one is what constistutes full-contact, game-speed practices.
“We really would need to see what the definition of full-contact is,” Port Neches-Groves head coach Brandon Faircloth said. “If it’s to the thud, or to the initial contact, that could change some things for us. But, we don’t really do full-contact during the week right now. We’re nowhere close to 90 minutes of full contact a week. I can’t imagine anyone these days going 90 minutes a week. You just can’t afford the risks.”