• Hard-Hitting Football Drills Shelved with Eye On Safety

    by Erik Brady and Jarrett Bell November 2017

    Bruce Hanson remembers what it was like to play high school football 50 years ago and knows what it's like to coach it today. A big difference is in the drills. "We used to hit in practice every day" in the 1960s, Hanson says. "We don't do contact drills anymore. Back then we'd say, 'We've got to get tougher.' Well, tougher graduated. Now we're more concerned with technique and schemes." Hanson was recruited to William & Mary by Marv Levy and played there under Lou Holtz, who named him a captain. Hanson just finished his 46th season of coaching high school football and 33rd as head coach at Yorktown High School. He has won more than 250 games as head coach at two schools and, at 67, is an old school coach with a new age philosophy. "Winning is important," he says. "Safety is more important." Last week, Hanson had his Patriots walk through some of the drills of yesteryear, but with no actual hitting. The idea was to show USA TODAY how it used to be.

  • Top High School Players Brush Off CTE Concerns

    by Jason Jordan November 2017

    "I love popping guys, that's one of the most fun things about football," said Harrisburg (Pa.) High School senior Micah Parsons. "It's really a rush when you hear those pads pop and see the guy hit the turf. Whew, it's the best."

  • Olympic Medalist Raisman Says She Was Abused

    by Kathleen McKiernan November 2017

    Olympic gymnast and Needham native Aly Raisman — who has claimed she was a victim of sexual abuse by a team doctor — is blaming USA Gymnastics for failing to protect her and other athletes.

  • Attempting to Prevent Head Injuries in HS Football

    by Charlie Broaddus November 2017

    The new movement toward safety is a result of increased awareness and science surrounding concussions and other brain injuries, especially chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE, which researchers believe takes years of repetitive hits to the head to develop, moved squarely to the forefront of the safety discussion after Dr. Ann McKee released unprecedented findings in July.

  • Report: Many Va. HS Teams Lack Top-Rated Helmets

    by Phil Anastasia, Aaron Carter, Rick O'Brien and Dylan Purcell November 2017

    First came the collision. Then came the confusion. Jared Troyano learned in this season's opening game that no football helmet can guarantee protection against a concussion.

  • UNM Coach Takes Flak Over Concussion Comments

    by Andy Berg November 2017

    University of New Mexico basketball coach Paul Weir is raising red flags with recent comments made to his players about how they report concussions.

  • Concussions Striking Female Soccer Players

    by Joe Christensen November 2017

    McKenzie Gregoire suffered so many concussions playing soccer, doctors made her quit. She spent her senior season as Shakopee's team manager. Sara Johnson's first soccer concussion came in eighth grade. Four years later, she suffered another one playing for Fridley, forcing her out of the game she loves. Haley Ramberg blacked out from a soccer concussion two years ago for Blaine. She missed one month of school as her head and body healed, recovering as many student-athletes with these brain injuries do: resting in dark rooms and quiet places for weeks. Blaine coach Scott Zachmann said the sight of Ramberg's collision haunts him to this day. His big fear used to be knee-ligament injuries.

  • UT Responds to Allegation that Athlete Played with Concussion

    by David Cobb November 2017

    Tennessee football coach Butch Jones said he has "absolutely no say" in decisions regarding whether injured athletes are allowed to continue playing.

  • Can Football Evolve to Survive Safety Concerns?

    by Bill Rabinowitz October 2017

    Football participation numbers are declining. Kids today have many more options, almost all of them much less taxing on the body. Concussions and the issue of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) hover ominously over the sport.

  • SUV Collides Head-On with HS Football Team Bus

    by Courtney Cameron October 2017

    Around 1 a.m. Saturday morning, a westbound SUV crossed the median in Hellam Township, Penn., and collided head-on with a school bus carrying 21 Eastern York football players, 3 coaches and an athletic trainer.