NFL Bans Dangerous Practice Drills
At its annual spring meeting yesterday in Key Biscayne, FL, the NFL banned several drills -- including the Oklahoma Drill, Bull in the Ring and King of the Circle -- that it deemed dangerous. League research found that 20% of all NFL concussions are sustained in the first two weeks of training camp when these drills are most often scheduled.
Regarding an expected trickle-down effect to lower levels of the game, Commissioner Roger Goodell said, "We also believe that by prohibiting some of these drills, that will happen at the college and high school and youth levels, which we believe should happen."
PLP Featured in Richmond TV Report
Practice Like Pros was featured yesterday in an investigative report by anchor Kerri O'Brien of WRIC-TV, Richmond, VA. Noting the May 8 announcement of practice reductions in Michigan, Ms. O'Brien asked whether similar regulations could be enacted in Virginia.
"This is further evidence," said PLP founder Terry O'Neil, "that the reduced-contact movement is growing organically. We've never appeared in Virginia, but a perceptive reporter in Richmond saw the Michigan news and posed the obvious question for her state. Since our mid-February announcement in New Jersey, these last three months have been the most encouraging for high school football in a long, long time."
To view the 1:31 WRIC-TV report, click here.
Michigan Reaction Overwhelmingly Positive
Response has been overwhelmingly positive to contact reductions announced earlier this month by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). Here are a few reactions:
MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl: "Adding the 'thud' concept into our definitions was very, very important. In thud practice, there's not a physical winner or loser, nobody's being taken to the ground. I think it's going to become a more enjoyable experience for our young people, and whenever you can be on the leading edge of that, I think it's a great thing for everybody."
Beecher High Coach Courtney Hawkins (9-year NFL WR with Bucs, Steelers): "It's a great change for these kids. It's a great change for the game. I played at the highest level. I understand that you have to preserve the body. You can't just go out and beat guys every day and expect them to be able to play on Friday night. This model is built off what professional teams do. In this day and age with everybody scared about concussions, the big push is for safety." Grand Rapids Christian Coach Don Fellows: "For us at Grand Rapids Christian, it won't change anything because we have never tackled to the ground."
Grand Rapids Catholic High Coach Todd Kolster: "I'd be shocked if you found a high school coach in our state who had anything negative to say about practice limitations."
Cass City High Coach Scott Cuthrell: "That's fair. We've really toned down on the collision hitting. We've gone around to clinics to see colleges and what they do. You see a lot more technique there, a lot more instruction and getting away from the banging two times a week and then playing your game on Friday. I really truly believe that it keeps kids healthier."
Deckerville High Coach Bill Brown: "I've been coaching 30 years and I've already seen it on Facebook, people are upset about not hitting at practice. But we've got to limit the collisions. If we can limit them now, I'm for it. It's about the safety of the kids and it's about keeping the sport of football going. Football is not just about collisions and big hits. It's about being a great team, a great teammate and having a great experience."
To read the USA Today story, click here.
To read the Associated Press story, click here.
To view the WJRT-TV report, click here.