Athens Review, Athens, Texas

May 10, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Limiting workouts

UIL considering allowing time changes for full contact drills for student athletes

Joe Elerson
The Athens Review

Athens — With athletes becoming bigger and faster these days, the University Interscholastic League’s Medical Advisory Committee is recommending changes to athletic programs across the state.

The committee is asking for approval to allow 90-minutes of full-contact, game-speed practices per player per week during the regular season and playoffs.

Game speed practices consist of tackling to the ground or blocking a player to the ground.

Most of the athletic directors across the county said if this was to pass it would not affect their teams.

Athens head coach and athletic director Paul Essary said this does not affect them at all.

“ ... I don’t know a lot of coaches that practice 90 minutes worth of game speed, full collision,” Essary said. “If you do, you don’t have enough kids to play on Friday night.”

In Malakoff, head football coach and athletic director Jamie Driskell said he is against the possibility of the new rule.

“I don’t agree with it because football has been going on for a long time now and I know kids get hurt here and there,” Driskell said. “If you look at the numbers across the state, the numbers are pretty small to be changing the rules but that is my opinion.”

Due to the growing concern of concussions, the awareness has made its way to the high school level.

“I would imagine so and probably what has happened is I am sure there are coaches out there that have not done what they are supposed to be doing as far as the concussion protocol,” Driskell said.

Essary said a change needed to be made.

“There is no doubt they needed to do something because the NFL did something,” Essary said. “I think our state representatives need to take care of their responsibilities and stay out of athletics.”

The vote must also be approved by the commissioner of education.