Player safety is cause for IHSAA to make pre-season football changes

The Iowa High School Athletic Association announced new guidelines for pre-season football practices last week in an effort to increase protection of athletes.

According to Clear Lake Head Football Coach Fred Wieck, the new regulations will not result in any major changes for the successful Lion program.

“ I think all rule changes that are for the safety of the kids are good,” said Wieck.  “We will have to change very little to abide by the new rule changes.”

Topping the list of new rules is limiting practice to just once daily, but Wieck noted that Clear Lake has not had two-a-day practices for at least 15 years.  

Under the new regulations a practice cannot exceed three hours in length. Warm-up, stretching, speed and agility rules, strength training, and cool down are all considered part of a practice.  Optional weight training activities that are available to all students are not considered part of the practice. 

The new rules also specify that on the first two days of practice, helmets and mouth guards may be worn and no activities that require protective equipment may be done.  During days three through five, helmets, mouth guards, and shoulder pads may be worn and contact with blocking sleds, tackling dummies and technique drills for blocking and tackling may begin, but no full contact. Above the waist contact between players focusing on proper tackling and blocking techniques may occur.  Starting on day six, all protective equipment may be worn and full contact drills may begin.  The first two Sundays during the 14-day acclimatization period must be days of complete rest (no practice, stretching, conditioning, speed and agility drills, strength training, etc.).

“The coaching staff at Clear Lake believes that you can get into football condition, both mentally and physically, with out a lot of live contact,” said Wieck. “Player safety needs to be addressed at all times in today’s football world.  The game needs to and is getting safer than it has been in the past.”

Another new rule will allow schools to have a scrimmage with another school prior to the first legal playing date and after 10 days of practice.  That’s something Wieck said he is happy to see.

“The rule that allows you to scrimmage is a good one.  It will allow you to workout the kinks against another - Read More Via e-Edition

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