The Michigan High School Athletic Association voted this week to cut full-contact practice time for football based on the recommendations of the advocacy group Practice Like Pros.
According to ABC affiliate WXYZ, high school football players in the state will now only be allowed full-contact practice time of 30 minutes per week — down from 90. In addition, preseason full-contact practice time was drastically reduced, down to six hours per week including scrimmages from one-full contact practice per day.
Michigan becomes the second state to implement the Practice Like Pros recommendations, joining New Jersey. Practice Like Pros, a group dedicated to reducing youth football injuries, cites statistics that say 58 percent of concussions in high school football take place on the practice field, compared with just 4 percent at the NFL level.
USA Today High School Sports reports that Practice Like Pros presented to the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association in November.
“We were under the impression that you had to hit people to prepare for a game,” MHSFCA executive director Larry Merx said. “The evidence shows that you can still be aggressive and technique-wise, good, and run into people and knock ‘em down in games. We can, they’re less bruised up, they’re not as exhausted, you’re in better condition.”
Practice Like Pros says on its website that they’ve made presentations to more than 10,000 coaches and administrators, as well as offered Congressional testimony.
“Our gratification during these clinics is watching coaches’ faces melt from skepticism to consideration to acceptance,” the group’s website reads.