REDUCING NEEDLESS INJURY
IN ADOLESCENT FOOTBALL....
ENDORSED BY PROGRESSIVE MINDS FROM FOOTBALL AND MEDICAL SCIENCE....
DR. ROBERT CANTU
Practice Like Pros, founded February, 2013, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit national movement dedicated to increasing participation and reducing needless injury in high football. Our primary activity is a traveling clinic which shows coaches – not tells them, shows them on video – how NFL and college teams practice with less contact.
We’ve presented this clinic to more than 10,000 coaches and administrators from 47 states and testified before Congress. Our first point of contact is high school coaches -- talking football with them, sharing our expertise at no cost, winning their respect, then asking their collaboration on contact reduction. Our satisfaction and excitement is watching their faces melt from skepticism to consideration to acceptance.
In the past two years, several state coaches' associations have endorsed our recommendations for limited practice contact and asked their governing bodies to adopt. So our education program has now become a campaign to change regulatory policy across the country.
On February 13, 2019, New Jersey became the first state to ratify Practice Like Pros' proposal of these restrictions on full-contact practice:
No full contact in spring/summer,
6 hours total including scrimmage(s) in pre-season,
15 minutes per week in regular- and post-season.
When on April 29, 2020, North Carolina became the second state to match PLP recommendations, several coaches noted a connection to their shrinking rosters. North Carolina high school football lost a staggering 25.6% participation from 2013 to 2018. A head coach in Fayetteville, NC, said, "If we want kids to come back to our sport, we have to let parents know we care and show kids they're more than a piece on a chessboard."
PLP founder Terry O'Neil added, "Coaches understand. They've heard all the slogans: 'the game is under attack, the game has never been safer.' More than anyone, they realize that high school football will only regenerate itself with action -- demonstrating to parents with new regulations that every needless risk is being eliminated."