By JUSTIN RAINS
In an effort to combat injuries, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) approved a limit on how much full contact can be made weekly during high school and middle school football practices.
The UIL, which governs athletics in Texas, approved a measure limiting contact to 90 minutes per week at a meeting on Tuesday. But, full contact is deemed to be “game-speed tackling and blocking to the ground.”
The rule, if approved by state education commissioner, goes into effect on Aug. 1, but won’t actually begin until the week of the first game.
Area coaches reacted similarly to the measure being passed.
“It doesn’t really change the way a lot of people practice in this day and age,” Palestine athletic director Lance Angel said. “A lot of times we only have 10 minutes of live team (offense) and live team (defense). It’s not going to affect our practices all that much.”
Westwood AD Rogers Mays agreed, saying that if anything his team’s schedules would have to be tweaked by about 10 minutes daily.
But he added, that just like with last year’s limit on how long two-a-day practices could be, everyone will just have to adjust.
“I don’t know that we went more than that anyway,” he said of the 90-minute limit. “We’ll adjust to it. We’ll be fine, adjust our schedule and get under those guidelines.”
Added Elkhart coach Sam Wells, “Trying to keep kids healthy, most coaches probably don’t have full contact 90 minutes during the week anyway. I don’t remember that happening in a long time.”
UIL athletic director Mark Cousins says the Texas rule tracks a growing trend in professional and college football to limit contact drills to reduce the number of injuries.
Along with not going into affect until after two-a-day practices, the rule does not govern the spring practices of the state’s bigger schools.
The Associated Press contributed to this report