By: James Groh
CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — A Cheektowaga football league is reducing the amount of full contact practices by 66 percent to improve player safety.
"We feel that contact full contact drills are not necessary once a season begins," Joe D'Amaro, chairman of the Cheektowaga Little Loops Association, said.
USA Football has established guidelines that suggest youth football players should limit full-contact practices to 90-minutes a week. The CLL had been following that recommendation, but decided to take it one step further and limit full-contact practices to 30 minutes a week during the regular and postseasons.
Players will still practice in full pads, but won't be able to bring anyone down except during designated times.
"We’ve seen a lot of kids suffer injuries throughout the season and really not have that time to heal," D'Amaro said.
In a study by the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, there were 3.42 million visits to emergency rooms in the U.S. regarding concussion related symptoms from sports and recreational activities from 2001-2012. Around 70 percent of those people were 19 or younger.
Concussions have been a big issue as more research comes out regarding the consequences of repeated high impact blows to the head. According to NFL.com the number of concussions dropped from 281 in 2017 to 214 in 2018.
Lisa Daye, an orthopedic surgeon, said all teams should consider doing this.
"There have been good studies that show decreasing the amount of tackling per week you are decreasing risk of injuries which in kids we see anywhere from concussions to knee injuries (and) ankle injuries."
This new rule only applies to athletes 12-14. The CLL said it will consider reducing full-contact practices for other ages as well.