CIAC hopes new rules will reduce concussions, make football safer for high school athletes


CHESHIRE, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) has rolled out new guidelines that it hopes will make high school football safer to play.

The rules include reducing the amount of time the players are in full-contact practice by 50% for both the fall and spring seasons.

“As you go through the season it will reduce to 45 minutes of contact time during the week,” said CAS-CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini. “Then 30 minutes and continue to decline.”

The rules even apply to a bye week when players practice but don’t have a game.

“There’s no contact during those practices,” said Lungarini. “They still condition. They still run through patterns. They still go through some of the technique work but the players are not engaged in contact with each other during that week.”

According to a new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, football head traumas are still on the rise, and concussion rates increased in football games by 18% from 2013-20018.

Terry O’Neil, who teaches coaches how to practice will less contact, said even the NFL is reducing full-contact practices.

“Four percent of NFL concussions occur on the practice field because they’ve learned how to practice,” O’Neil said. “That same number in high school is 58 percent.”

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