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Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA)
The National Federation of State High School Associations took more steps last week to make its most popular sport safer.
In an effort to reduce contact above the shoulders, the NFHS Football Rules Committee introduced rules that will define "targeting" and will be penalized as illegal personal contact. The group also defined a "defenseless" player.
Beginning this fall, new Rule 2-43 will read as follows: "Targeting is an act of taking aim and initiating contact to an opponent above the shoulders with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulders."
"Taking aim with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulders to initiate contact above the shoulders, which goes beyond making a legal tackle, a legal block or playing the ball, will be prohibited," said Bob Colgate, NFHS director of sports and sports medicine and liaison to the Football Rules Committee.
The NFHS also introduced Rule 2-32-16, which reads "A defenseless player is a player who, because of his physical position and focus of concentration, is especially vulnerable to injury."
To reduce the risk of injury on kickoffs, two changes were made to the rule book. First, at least four members of the kicking team must be on each side of the kicker, and, second, other than the kicker, no members of the kicking team may be more than five yards behind the kicking team's free-kick line.
"The Football Rules Committee's actions this year reinforce a continued emphasis on minimizing risk within all phases of the game," said Brad Garrett, assistant executive director of the Oregon School Activities Association and chair of the Football Rules Committee.
Football is the No. 1 participatory sport for high school boys. In the 2012-13 school year, 1,115,208 students participated in the sport.
Craig Reber contributed to this story. Email More than the Score items to Jim Leitner at firstname.lastname@example.org