How dumb are lingering injuries that begin in Spring Football Practice and impair peak performance in the the Fall?

“The finding of a spring practice injury rate that is almost 3X times higher than the fall football practice injury rate raises concern about why student-athletes appear to be at significantly higher risk for injury in “nontraditional” activities compared with in-season activities.” Concussions, ACL and ankle injuries are particularly problematic. These are ridiculous, preventable Athlete Injuries.
[Hootman JM, Dick R, Agel J.Epidemiology of Collegiate Injuries for 15 Sports: Summary and Recommendations for Injury Prevention Initiatives.Journal of Athletic Training. 2007;42(2):311-319]

Why would a Coach debilitate football Athletes for fall participations months before the Fall football season begins? Football Athletes can play “rock-em, sock-em”, hard nosed Fall football, like we all have played, without unnecessary Spring Practice risks of injury.

Football Injury Prevention
Injuries have always been an extremely big part of American Football, and various methods have been used historically and in modern times to prevent them.
the following are recommendations:

• Pre-participation physical examination
• EKG and Echocardiogram when there is a family history of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), early heart disease or death
• Do not practice or play during dangerous weather conditions i.e. dangerous heat index and/or dangerous air pollution
• Do not allow an Athlete to practice when severely ill or injured
• Return to practice and play as dictated by athletic trainer/doctor
• Have a 911 Emergency Action Plan
• Instruct Athletes about appropriate diet, nutrition and hydration
• Proper hydration during practice and play
• Warm up period, stretching
• Modified tackling and blocking techniques.[1]
• Prohibit the targeting and reduce concussions.[40]
• Distribute up-to-date, state of the art, modern equipment i.e. football helmets, facemasks. mouthguards, shoulder pads thigh pads, hip pads, tail pads, and knee pads are also used, quarterbacks flak jackets, proper shoes and cleats. Athletic cups in jock straps [45]
• Appropriate conditioning techniques, fitness routines and exercise routines
• No overuse, no over exercise
• Do not push and/or punish Athletes beyond their physical and psychological limits
• High-quality, standard of care coaching, can reduce the risk of injury among players.[1]
[ 1. Saal, JA (August 12, 1991). “Common American football injuries”. Sports Medicine (Daly City, California: San Francisco Spine Institute at Seton Medical Center) 2 (2): 132–147. Retrieved August 17, 2013]
[6. Gregory, Sean (October 22, 2010). “Can Football Finally Tackle Its Injury Problem?”. Time Magazine. RetrievedJanuary 16, 2013]
[43, Cronin, Brian (December 7, 2010). “Did the inventor of basketball, James Naismith, also invent the football helmet?”.The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
[45, “The American Football Player’s Uniform”. Dummies.com. Retrieved November 11,2013].
[45, Borden, Sam (December 8, 2012). “Helmet? Check. Shoulder Pads? Check. Cup? No Thanks.”. The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2013]

Minimizing football injuries requires intelligent coaching techniques i.e. taking the head out of the game, eliminating vulnerability of body parts with adequate protection, reducing awkward collisions that pose certain injury exposure, not crossing the line pushing and punishing an Athlete beyond their physical and/or emotional limits, etc. during Spring Practice.

Ivy League football coaches have unanimously approved a measure to end full-contact hitting in practices.The league has been one of the most cautious in the nation, already limiting the amount of hitting in practice.

The motion was inspired by Dartmouth, who started using “mobile virtual players” in 2010 to replace players in tackling drills.

The official move to limit contact further is expected to be approved by the league’s athletic directors, policy committee and school presidents.
[Ivy League coaches eliminate tackling at football practices, March 1 by Kenny Ducey, Sports Illustrated]

Football has always been a rough and tough sport and raised questions about unnecessary injuries. “On October 9, 1905, President Teddy Roosevelt summoned representatives from Yale, Harvard and Princeton to the White House. When they arrived, he may have walked softly but he certainly brandished the Big Stick. He told them that if football could not put an end to on-field brutality, then he would abolish the game with an Executive Order.”
[When A President Threatened to Abolish Football in the United States, Symonsez, November 12, 2011]

“Early in the 20th century, football, as played on college gridirons, was something close to a street fight. The rules were lax at best, and were routinely ignored. During the 1905 season alone, 18 college and amateur players died. And despite the growing violence (or, who knows, maybe because of the growing violence), fans were flocking to the games — the sport was gaining followers.

“Roosevelt convened a meeting in the White House of the most influential men in college football. Present were Walter Camp, the leading figure in the formative years of the game, as well as representatives from Harvard, Princeton and Yale. According to Miller, Roosevelt told them: “Football is on trial. Because I believe in the game, I want to do all I can to save it.” He impressed on them that genuine, substantive changes must be instituted
[The president who saved football, by Bob Greene, CNN Contributor, Sun February 5, 2012]
[Stop Basketball Violence Before The Catastrophes, Athlete Safety 1st http://www.cappaa.com/stop-basketball-violence-before-the-catastrophes ]

“Out-of-season and “nontraditional” season practice activities may be another area for intervention for the sake of Athlete Safety 1st, if the pattern of high Spring (out-of-season) football injury rates, relative to the rates of fall practice, remain high.”
[Hootman JM, Dick R, Agel J. Epidemiology of Collegiate Injuries for 15 Sports: Summary and Recommendations for Injury Prevention Initiatives. Journal of Athletic Training. 2007;42(2):311-319]

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